Game Of Thrones: Tropes A to B

Tropes A To B | Tropes C to D | Tropes E to F | Tropes G to K | Tropes L to O | Tropes P to S | Tropes T to Z |

Back to the main article
    open/close all folders 

    AB - AL 
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Played for drama with Lysa Arryn's obsession with Littlefinger, who fully exploits it.
  • Abnormal Ammo:
    • Anguy briefly commissions Gendry to forge bodkin points for piercing plate, though the stated effective range of 200 yards is quite excessive.
    • At the end of "Breaker of Chains", Daenerys' catapults fire barrels full of broken slave collars over the walls to encourage the slaves inside to revolt.
  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Cersei tells Jaime he's been away too long when he desires some intimacy in "Two Swords".
  • Absentee Actor: Loads and Loads of Characters means no one makes it into every episode. Lena Headey (Cersei) lasts the longest, appearing in all 13 episodes prior to "Garden of Bones".
  • Absent-Minded Professor: Grand Maester Pycelle invokes this trope in-universe to diminish himself as a threat.
  • Absolute Cleavage: Several of Margaery's gowns, such as the ones she wears at Renly's tourney and her betrothal to Joffrey. Cersei lampshades it by snarking that a single fabric sample should be enough fabric for Margaery's wedding dress.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Any blade made from Valyrian steel, whose forging secrets (long lost and magical) allow them to keep an edge harder and sharper than regular steel. It's power is well demonstrated in "The House of Black and White" when Oathkeeper cuts through a sword and stabs through plate armour.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Tywin's emotional abuse of all his children is horrific. Every conversation with them involves a "The Reason You Suck" Speech even when he's trying to be encouraging (as in his Establishing Character Moment with Jaime). He's not wrong that his kids are all screwed up, but the possibility that his parenting methods might be to blame seems totally lost on him. He's particularly vindictive to Tyrion, making it clear he would have drowned him at birth if he weren't his own blood.
    • Daenerys was raised by her borderline-psychotic brother Viserys, whose sanity was not helped at all by the death of their parents, the constant threat of assassination, and the general stress of being a Noble Fugitive.
    • Sam was compelled to join the Night's Watch when his father threatened him with a Hunting Accident (using the page quote, no less) if he did not.
    • Craster rapes his daughters and sacrifices his sons to the White Walkers.
    • Balon Greyjoy greets his only surviving son with scorn upon his return and later refuses to even consider ransoming him.
    • Selyse views her daughter Shireen with a contempt bordering on hatred, neglecting her at best and proposing beating her at worst.
    • Bronn concedes that his father beat him, but adds that his mother hit harder and explains later that she once broke his nose swinging a poker at his brother. And the first person he killed was a woman who swung an axe at him... Make of that what you will.
    • Shae is very touchy on the subject of her parents but does reveal that her mother made sure she "stopped being a child" at age nine.
  • The Ace:
    • Robb is described in these terms by both Jon and Theon.
      Theon: He didn't have to [lord it over me], all he had to do was... be. Be who he was born to be, his life fit him better than his clothes.
      Jon: He was better than me at everything: fighting, hunting, and riding... and girls. Gods, the girls loved him. I wanted to hate him, but I never could.
    • Tywin is a villainous example, setting the standard for House Lannister. He's a better schemer than Cersei, a better commander than Jaime, and a better negotiator than Tyrion (compare their handling of Olenna Tyrell). He's The Dreaded for very good reason.
    • Jaime is easily one of the top swordsmen in Westeros, and he knows it.
    • Bronn is a great swordsman, archer, police chief, and even singer in addition to being a Loveable Rogue.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Hot Pie seems to think Arya is a Stark of "Winterhell."
  • Achilles' Heel: Dragonglass a.k.a. obsidian for the White Walkers. Being stabbed with it causes them to crystallize and shatter violently. After all, what's the opposite of ice? Volcanic glass.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Kevan Lannister refuses to kowtow to Cersei and retires to Casterly Rock, declaring that the king is free to call upon him at any time.
  • Action Dad: Being Dad to six kids hasn't weakened Ned's ability to swing his ancestral greatsword when needed.
  • Action Girl: Cultures throughout the world see women of action in a variety of lights, from acceptance to scorn.
    • Arya practices swordplay and looks up to fellow action girls from Westerosi history, such as the Dragon Rider Visenya Targaryen and the warrior queen Nymeria (after whom she names her direwolf).
    • Brienne of Tarth is a large and strong woman whose one want in life is to be a knight and has dealt with the scorn of others for her choice of a non-traditional role her entire life.
    • Yara Greyjoy took over her eldest brother's ship and place at her father's side after her older brothers were killed in battle and her younger brother was taken hostage.
    • Wildling spearwives such as Ygritte and Osha.
    • Meera Reed is introduced puling a *Click* Hello on Osha, and quickly explains that she acts as her little brother Jojen's protector.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene:
    • While the show is widely known for its Fanservice and Holy Shit Quotient, some of its best received scenes are quiet, one-on-one dialogues between characters.
    • The battle episodes "Blackwater" and "The Watchers on the Wall" are both marked by their interplay of awesome action and quiet drama to underline the high stakes and immense cost of such carnage.
  • Action Survivor: Gilly's penchant for surviving calamity despite her Non Action Girl status is lampshaded by Dolorous Edd to comfort Sam after they receive news of the attack on Mole's Town.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Even stoic Ned can't help but smile at Robert sending his squire in search of a "breastplate stretcher."
    • Daenerys smirks slightly at the Meereenese champion's string of insults in "Breaker of Chains".
    • Jon can't help but smile at the boldness of ten-year-old Lyanna Mormont's declaration that "Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is Stark."
    • Even kindly old Maester Aemon chuckles at Sam's verbal humiliation of Janos Slynt.
  • Actually That's My Assistant: Jon initially mistakes Tormund Giantsbane for Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall, to Tormund's great amusement.
    Tormund: 'Your Grace?' (to others) Did you hear that? From now on, you better kneel every time I fart!
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade:
    • In the books, Tyrion is impressed that his niece Myrcella doesn't cry when she leaves for Dorne. In the show, she's bawling her eyes out.
    • Inverted by Loras who, takes Olyvar as a casual lover and makes little mention of Renly aside from an oblique preference for green and gold brocade like Renly wore, rather than remaining celibate out of grief-stricken loyalty to Renly as in the books
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: A lot of it, though a fair amount of it is justified by the impracticality of simulating some of the gruesome scars and imperfectly healed injuries many characters sport.
    • Ned is described as "plain" in the book, but is played by Mr. Fanservice stalwart Sean Bean.
    • Jon is never described as particularly handsome in the books, but is played by Kit Harington. Furthermore, in the books Jon receives scars around his eye bad enough that Donal Noye's first question on meeting Jon again is, "What happened to your face?" In the show, these are reduced to a couple of very faint scratches.
    • Arya is usually described as "horse-faced" in the books, but Maisie Williams is round-faced and cute. However, even in the books Arya is noted to resemble her aunt Lyanna, who was quite attractive if not a great beauty.
    • Tyrion is frequently described as The Grotesque as well as a dwarf in the books, but Peter Dinklage is quite attractive and even proclaimed so in-universe by Margaery. The facial wound he receives is also much less grievous than the partial loss of his nose in the books for both pragmatic and sympathetic reasons. This played with when Cersei notes that Tyrion's scar isn't as bad as she'd heard.
    • For all their gruesomeness, Sandor Clegane's facial burns are far less extensive than in the book. This was partially a practical change, since a more extensive prosthetic affected the actor's vision, making it impractical for a character with so many fight scenes.
    • Jorah Mormont in the book is hefty, hairy, balding, and "not handsome," in stark contrast to Iain Glen.
    • Brienne is described as hideous in the books, with coarse freckly features, puffy lips, big crooked teeth, and a broken, upturned nose. Gwendoline Christie is made up to look plain and mannish but not really ugly and She Cleans Up Nicely.
    • Ygritte is described in the books as having crooked teeth and a pug nose, but is considered beautiful by Jon. In the series, she is played by the conventionally attractive Rose Leslie.
    • Pod is a debilitatingly shy, stuttering twelve-year-old in the books, but is aged up to a handsome if somewhat adorkable young man in the show.
    • Osha is said to hardly look like a woman in the books, with a lean, scarred body and a hard face. In the show, she's played by Natalia Tena, an attractive actress with a feminine physique. Her costuming, including a shapeless robe and scraggly hair, goes a long way in toning it down, but even so she's able to seduce male characters twice.
    • Stannis' wife Selyse is plump with large ears and a mustache in the books, but the worst that can be said of Tara Fitzgerald is that she's made to look gaunt.
    • Even without the greyscale scars, Shireen is described in the books as the unfortunate recipient of her father's square jaw and her mother's large ears. Kerry Ingram is adorable.
    • Robin Arryn is a small and sickly child with epilepsy in the books, but fairly normal if a bit slight in the show.
    • In the books, Dagmer Cleftjaw takes his name from a horrific scar caused by an axe blow that cleft his jaw. In the show, he's just plain Dagmer and his only scars are some minor facial nicks.
    • Roose Bolton is very nondescript in the novels except for his creepy eyes and whispery voice; Michael Mc Elhatton is ruggedly handsome with a Badass Baritone.
    • Ramsay Snow is explicitly described in the books as an ugly, fleshy man with wormy lips, blotchy skin, and creepy pale eyes. Iwan Rheon has none of these traits except the eyes.
    • Yoren is much more put together and reputable looking in the show than the filthy, hunchbacked old man from the books.
    • Rorge keeps his nose for practical reasons in the show. While Biter retains his filed-down teeth, he's still better looking than the obese man with weeping sores described in the book.
    • Walder Frey is younger and sprier than the bald, toothless, half-blind, crippled old vulture of a man described in the books.
    • Giants are hairy, ape-like beings more similar to Bigfoot than men in the books, but merely over-sized men with brutish facial features in the show.
    • Beric Dondarrion is much gaunter and disfigured by a blow to the head in the book, which is dropped for pragmatic reasons.
    • The sleek and smooth-voiced young witch whom Cersei met as a child in the show is a far cry from the squat, croaking crone of the novels.
    • Lancel is very infirm, disheveled, and prematurely aged following his brush with death in the books, but in "The Wars To Come" he's even more healthy and muscular than previously.
    • In the books, Lollys Stokeworth is obese and mentally handicapped, but in the show she appears fairly normal, and her dim-witted descriptor is played more as ditzy childishness than a severe handicap.
    • The slaver Yezzan zo Qaggaz who buys Tyrion and Jorah is basically a humanoid Jabba the Hutt in the novels, too obese to stand on his own and suffering from a debilitating disease that leaves him jaundiced and unable to control his bladder. Actor Enzo Cilenti is not the slightest bit ugly or overweight.
    • Inverted by the White Walkers. The books' Others are eerily beautiful, ice-themed versions of The Fair Folk, whereas the series' White Walkers are Humanoid Abominations that resemble frozen corpses.
    • Inverted by Renly, who is a good-looking man guy in the show, but not the Adonis described in the book.
    • Reek is described as ghastly pale and malnourished, with broken teeth and white hair in addition to the missing fingers and limp featured in the show. The show version of Reek has less extensive injuries and wasn't prematurely aged.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Ned is an excellent general in the books, but his swordsmanship is never described as exceptional and even Ned himself regards his late brother Brandon as the better man. In the show, Ned impresses the legendary Barristan Selmy, matches the prodigious Jaime Lannister blow for blow, and is described as "even more impressive" than his late brother.
    • Daenerys shows consistent immunity to heat and flame, unlike in the novels where the pyre was a one-time thing.
    • While still a certifiable badass in the novels, Robb is described as a lesser swordsman (though a better jouster) than Jon and protected by an ample bodyguard, including Theon, whereas in the show both Jon and Theon consider him The Ace and the bodyguard is left mostly implied. His first execution also requires only a single stroke with a longsword in the show instead of several even with a proper axe as in the books.
    • Arya consistently displays a talent for archery in the show, whereas in the book she laments that she has no archery skills whatsoever.
    • In "The Rains of Castamere", Jojen claims Bran's ability to enter the mind of another human is Beyond the Impossible. In the books, the skinchanger Varamyr exposits not only that it is possible (though extremely taboo) but actually attempts it himself, though he fails. It's implied that Bran succeeded because his subject was simple-minded.
    • The show's surly and cynical Brienne is a far cry from the novels' insecure and naive girl. In the books, she's quite skilled but tends to win only narrowly and never kills until well into A Feast for Crows. In the show, she easily and remorselessly dispatches two Kingsguard and three nefarious soldiers single-handed, easily defeats Jaime with swords, and even beats the Hound at brawling.
    • Stannis is certainly no slouch in the novels but, like Ned, his reputation stands more on his generalship than his individual skill, and as such he prefers to command from the rear where he has a good overview. Not so in the show, where he leads the assault on King's Landing personally and is the first man up the ladders.
    • Ramsay is portrayed in the show as a deadly archer and able to fight off a squad of "the best killers in the Iron Islands" while shirtless. In the books, his own father describes him as a very uncouth fighter because he was never trained by a proper master-at-arms, and his most impressive combat feat is cutting the arm off an elderly knight who mistook him for an ally.
    • In the novels, Ygritte is a bold spearwife and skilled with a bow, but never a notable fighter. In the show, she's a prodigious archer who never misses a shot and boasts of killing more than anyone else in her raiding party.
    • Sam shows notable bravery in "The Watchers on the Wall," soothing Pyp's jangled nerves and killing a Thenn, whereas in the books he was not present for the battle and (though he has improved) largely remains a timid coward who freezes up at the first sign of danger.
    • Shae is not afraid of using a knife in the show, a trait that is totally original to the show.
    • In the books, the Second Sons and Storm Crows number only 1,000 all together, but the show amalgamates them and doubles their number, enough to make Daenerys think twice about attacking Yunkai.
    • In the books, the Sons of the Harpy are secondary antagonists restricted to cloak-and-dagger assassination in the black of night, but the show plays them as primary antagonists capable of overwhelming a cohort of Unsullied in broad daylight using knives with little resistance except from named characters.
    • In the books, giants stand about 10-12 feet high and are more like Sasquatches than humans, with limited vision and almost no technology. In the show, they're considerably bigger, standing closer to 18 feet tall and able to stomp human-sized wights flat. They are also more intelligent, wearing clothes and using more complicated technology.
  • Adaptational Comic Relief: In the books, Sam is characterized by extreme self-esteem issues that are rarely Played for Laughs. In the show, once he makes some friends, Sam quickly becomes the Plucky Comic Relief member of the group, able to join in his friends' good-natured mockery ("And the thing I find most interesting about you... is absolutely nothing.") and even mock gruff men like Janos Slynt to their faces.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Several characters are presented as more sympathetic than they are in the books.
    • Although certainly still a villain, Cersei in the show is cast as a sympathetic and tragic character who genuinely loved Robert "for quite awhile" despite knowing he didn't love her and mourned their first child who died of a fever. In the books, Cersei never forgave Robert for killing her childhood crush Rhaegar and callously aborted their first child behind his back. In addition, two of her worst Kick the Dog moments from the booksnote  are instead committed by Joffrey, whom she finds perfect in the books but calls a monster in the show, allowing her to tragically lament that as his mother she loves him regardless. Her rivalry with Margaery is also far more justified and her actions in Season 5 pale before her actions in the equivalent novel.note 
    • Tyrion is "the grayest of the gray" in the books, per George RR Martin. The show omits or justifies virtually all of his less-than-heroic aspects in favour of a more traditional protagonist. For example, in the books, he arranges at least two murders, threatens Tommen with any harm (including rape) done to a prostitute, murders Shae in cold blood rather than self-defence, and callously rapes an Essosi bedslave rather than politely chats with her; even his minor crime of breaking Marillion's fingers for mocking him is omitted. He also benefits from Shae's adaptational heroism, which turns him from a deluded (and occasionally abusive) john to a genuine lover.
    • Tywin in both media is a Magnificent Bastard Pragmatic Villain Jerkass who treats even his own children like chess pieces, but his Adaptation Expansion scenes with Arya in Harrenhal bring out a softer, paternal side that is lacking in the books and the adapting out of a certain reveal leaves one of his most despicable acts from the books in a (relatively) more favourable light.
    • In both mediums, the final reason Jon gives for joining the wildlings is implied to be partially honest. In the books, he says he's rebelling against his treatment as a bastard, while in the show he says he's upset by the lack of action against Craster and wants to fight the White Walkers, which paints him in a more heroic light. He also heroically undertakes a Suicide Mission in "The Watchers on the Wall" instead of being forced into it as a Uriah Gambit, and the omission of Dalla and her son negates one of his few Kick the Dog moments.
    • As dark as she becomes in the show, Arya's traumatic experiences in the books leave her even colder and more Ax-Crazy and give her a real cruel streak. Her relationships with Gendry, Hot Pie, and even Sandor Clegane are also warmer and more sentimental in the show.
    • Sansa's Alpha Bitch treatment of her sister is toned down and her unwitting role in her father's downfall is adapted out for reasons of Age Lift, a change GRRM himself has supported. She is also kinder to Tyrion (perhaps because of his Adaptational Heroism) and is never called upon to act as Littlefinger's accomplice in framing a Fall Guy for murder.
    • Varys gets stacked with this. In the books, he's a sleazy, hypocritical Giggling Villain who preaches neutrality and the common good but is Not So Different from Littlefinger in Playing Both Sides and manipulating everyone to serve his own agenda. As such, he remorselessly testifies against Tyrion and must be given An Offer You Can't Refuse before he will help. Then there are his little birds... By contrast, the show paints him as a sassy and affable Only Sane Man and Benevolent Boss with very few Kick the Dog moments and a genuine soft spot for Tyrion and the common people.
    • The Tyrells in general are portrayed more positively in the show. In the books, the Tyrells are directly to blame for the famine in King's Landing by closing off trade while they support Renly, but in the show Tyrion puts the blame squarely on Joffrey's inept rule. Their feud with the Martells is also converted to Loras and Oberyn actually flirting.
      • While Margaery's kindness is shown to be manipulative in the show, she seems genuinely fond of Sansa since she remains supportive even after the Tyrell ploy to gain Sansa's claim falls through, unlike in the books. She is also totally innocent of the plot to poison Joffrey in the show, which the books heavily imply she knew about since she was sharing the wedding chalice.
      • Olenna is the very picture of a Cool Old Lady in the show instead of the spiteful harridan of the books who calls Ellaria Sand "the serpent's whore" and is so generally acerbic that Tyrion wonders if her late husband rode off a cliff intentionally. She also displays sympathy for Sansa in the show rather than just seeing her as a pawn.
      • Loras is much more mild-mannered and level-headed in the show than the arrogant hothead of the books, as shown by his sympathy for Sansa and intention to be a decent husband to her instead of simply treating her with empty chivalry as in the novels. The show also omits Loras' main Kick the Dog moment of unjustly murdering two of his fellow Kingsguard in a fit of rage over Renly's death.
      • As part of his wimpification, Mace loses his abrasive moments like pressuring his son Willas (Adapted Out of the show) into jousting and holding an unreasonable grudge against Oberyn for crippling Willas in a tourney accident.
    • The Jorah of the show is a higher tier of man than his literary counterpart, with his Dirty Old Man lust for Daenerys downplayed into All Love Is Unrequited and his Forceful Kiss adapted out. He also seems more ashamed of his dabbling in slavery and begs forgiveness when his spying is discovered instead of haughtily insisting it's all Never My Fault as he does in the books.
    • In the books, Shae is Only in It for the Money and betrays Tyrion as soon as she gets a better offer. In the show, she's a Hooker with a Heart of Gold who refuses several offers of wealth because she genuinely loves Tyrion and serves as a Cool Big Sister to Sansa. She still betrays him, but because she's a Woman Scorned after Tyrion was forced to Break Her Heart To Save Her.
    • In the novels, Sandor Clegane goes to Sansa's room during the Battle of Blackwater with the apparent intention of raping her, holding her down with a knife at her throat. The show makes their confrontation much less frightening, making Sansa's refusal to escape with him much less understandable.
    • While still very much Only in It for the Money, Bronn shows more loyalty to Tyrion by encouraging Jaime to defend him and putting a much more apologetic spin on their parting than in the novels.
    • Renly is changed from a brash, frivolous, and arrogant Sleazy Politician with entitlement issues into a prudent and thoughtful young man who rebels out of a genuine sense he'd be better at the job. His main Kick the Dog moments of mocking Shireen and Brienne behind their backs are also omitted or changed to genuine respect, and his proposal to Catelyn is much more conciliatory than the "Join or Die" ultimatum he gives in the book. Gethin Anthony has also stated that his Renly is "very educated," while the Renly of the novels dismisses books as being for maesters.
    • In the show, Alliser Thorne grudgingly respects Jon, believes he's helping his recruits by being a Drill Sergeant Nasty, and heroically leads the defence of Castle Black, whereas in the books he reviles Jon unconditionally, sadistically berates his recruits purely out of malice, and interferes in the siege by arresting Jon and pressing him into a Uriah Gambit.
    • Locke gets just a touch of this compared to his counterpart Vargo Hoat by remaining staunchly loyal to the Boltons whereas Hoat has a serious case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. Locke is also shown inflicting atrocities on Brienne and Jaime, but is not quite on par with Gregor Clegane for Rape, Pillage, and Burn like Hoat is.
    • Rorge is just a sinister brute who does little more than threaten Arya in the show, whereas in the books his crimes (particularly the Sack of Saltpans) are comparable to Gregor Clegane and Ramsay Snow in their shocking savagery.
    • Qyburn is introduced as the victim of a band of sadistic murderers instead of serving as their Medic. His mad doctoring has also been restricted to dead or dying men on-screen as opposed to the Torture Technician role he takes on in the novels.
    • Dontos is more of a hapless bumbler than the two-faced Dirty Old Man of the novels. In the books, he helps Sansa for the promise of gold and could easily be convinced to do it again, whereas in the show he just has Loose Lips when drunk, implying he would never betray her while sober.
    • When Yara finds out that Theon has been tortured and imprisoned in the show, she launches a rescue mission in defiance of her father. In the books, she contemplates the news only momentarily before turning to more pressing matters.
    • While still charismatic and snarky, Oberyn in the books is more of an arrogant jerkass who only sees championing Tyrion as a means to get what he wants regardless of the justice of his cause. There's even a hint he's doing it because he believes Tyrion is guilty. It's notable that his story of Tyrion as a baby is drawn almost directly from the books but placed in an empathetic context instead of a derogatory one. His daughter Obara's Origin Story in "Sons of the Harpy" also deftly sidesteps the part from the novels where her mother was crying because Oberyn had backhanded her.
    • Hizdahr zo Loraq. In the books he's an ambitious Smug Snake whom several characters suspect of conspiring with or even leading the Sons of the Harpy. In the show, he's an earnest supporter of Daenerys whose main concern is the preservation of his people and culture. He's also given a heroic death, stabbed by the rebels as he tries to help Daenerys escape.
    • Drogon gets this in "The Dance of Dragons" when he plays the Big Damn Hero who roasts mostly Asshole Victims to save Dany from the Sons of the Harpy rather than being attracted by the noise and slaughter to gorge on a dead fighter and roast several bystanders until Dany whips him into submission and flies off.
  • Adaptational Modesty:
    • The show is no stranger to nudity, but most of the casual and cultural nudity from the novels is adapted out. For example, in the books, Ned and Catelyn are naked in bed together when they receive the letter implicating the Lannisters in Jon Arryn's death and the women of Qarth customarily wear gowns that expose one breast. This is also sometimes zigzagged, such as in "The Wars to Come" when Dany maintains a Modesty Bedsheet while Daario struts around bare-assed.
    • Jaime and Cersei are naked for obvious reasons when they're interrupted in the books, but since Lena Headey was quite pregnant at the time and the scene required interacting with a child actor, they keep their clothes on in the show.
    • Due to decency laws, a scene where Sansa is stripped naked before the court is changed to having her dress ripped with the implication things would have gone further had Tyrion not intervened. She is also spared from undressing on her wedding night in "Second Sons" whereas in the book her husband doesn't back off until they're both naked and he's had a bit of Thanks for the Mammaries.
    • In the books, Shae is wearing only a golden necklace when Tyrion finds her in Tywin's bed. In the show, she's wearing a nightgown. She's still wearing the necklace, though...
    • Arya strips herself naked when divesting herself of her possessions in the books. In "High Sparrow', she's already wearing a habit of the House of Black and White.
  • Adaptational Sexuality:
    • In the books, Daenerys occasionally has bisexual relations with her handmaid Irri as a kind of stress relief, but shows no interest in female lovers in the show except for a scene in "The Kingsroad" when Doreah is tutoring her on lovemaking.
    • Xaro Xhoan Daxos is noted to have an appreciation for pretty slave boys in the novels, but has no such inclination in the show. Given that his entire adaptation is only in the broadest strokes, this is not surprising. It is also not a case of Hide Your Gays since the show has a homosexual pairing that's more explicit than the books.
    • The Tyrells are much more liberal about sex, particularly homosexuality, than in the books. For instance, in addition to playing The Vamp rather than the Princess Classic, Margaery offers to let Loras help consummate her marriage, implies offhandedly that she's experimented widely herself, and strolls right into her brother's chambers during one of his trysts, none of which is even implied in the novels. Likewise, Olenna admits Highgarden doesn't view "a discrete bit of buggery" as a scandal and even teases Tywin with the implication he might just be Armored Closet Gay.
    • The show entirely side-steps the (unconfirmed) hints from the novels that Brynden Tully might be gay.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In the books, it's left slightly ambiguous whether Mirri Maz Duur sabotaged Drogo's wound since he later goes back to his traditional remedies. This is omitted from the show, though both versions are explicit that Mirri wanted him dead.
    • In the books, Xaro wants only to marry Dany so he can legally assume control of one of her dragons and simply withdraws his patronage when denied, forcing Dany to flee the city. In the show, he allies with the warlocks to assassinate the rest of the oligarchy, proclaim himself king, imprison Daenerys, and steal all of the dragons.
    • Doreah is a loyal and dutiful servant who dies tragically Crossing the Desert in the books, but the show gives her an abrupt and unexplained Face-Heel Turn and in a deleted scene she kicks the dog by strangling Irri personally.
    • Stannis gets a lot of this, particularly in the earlier seasons.
      • He is fully aware and dismissive of his involvement in Renly's death since he dispatches Melisandre personally, whereas in the books he finds the thought greatly disturbing and expands on his fondness for Renly far beyond the single dismissive line used in the show. This also isn't helped by his victim's Adaptational Heroism.
      • He nearly strangles Melisandre in "Valar Morghulis", whereas in the books he is never physically violent towards women or anyone else.
      • He is much less reluctant to practice Human Sacrifice than in the books, needing only one victim of the leech curse to be wholly convinced to sacrifice his nephew. Likewise, the men he burns for simply refusing his religious commandment in "The Lion and the Rose" were traitors who conspired to sell him out and surrender his daughter in the novels.
      • He is obsessed with fathering a son in earlier seasons, something he shows much less concern for in the books. Melisandre's shadows are also never considered "sons" by anyone in the novels.
      • He only relents from executing Davos when Melisandre changes her mind about him, whereas in the books Stannis himself makes the decision after Davos appeals to his sense of duty. Even after that, Stannis frequently threatens Davos like a Bad Boss in the show, whereas in the books Davos is Stannis' Only Friend and held in the highest regard.
      • He executes Mance Rayder in "The Wars to Come" for defiance rather than because his status as a deserter demands it as in the books.
      • He also burns his only child, Shireen, alive in "The Dance of Dragons" in an attempt to end the blizzard afflicting his army. While this may indeed happen in later novels, at the equivalent point in the novels he refuses to burn anyone except as punishment for cannibalism and dispatches Ser Justin Massey with specific instructions to press Shireen's claim to the throne should he die.
    • Melisandre antagonizes Davos over his dead son instead of expressing regret as in the novels, doesn't offer Cressen a chance to back out of poisoning them both, and generally lacks her (admittedly few) Pet the Dog moments from the novels like protecting Davos' son Devan (who was Adapted Out). The omission of the Abel the Bard plot also removes perhaps her greatest Pet the Dog moment in favour of more Human Sacrifice.
    • Joffrey is a horrific, power-crazed psychopath in the books as well, but the show makes him even worse by giving him two of Cersei's biggest Kick the Dog moments and several original ones in which he displays a taste for sexualized violence that is an exaggeration (or perhaps an age-based extrapolation) of his sadistic streak, culminating in him cold-bloodedly murdering a named character just to see how it feels.
    • While he may be just as evil, live-action Littlefinger is a lot less affable than his literary counterpart. In the books, Littlefinger owes his success to his cover as a harmless, witty Trickster, unlike the show's creepy Devil in Plain Sight who openly feuds with The Spymaster. He also isn't involved in anything quite so vile as regularly serving up prostitutes to necrophiliacs and serial killers in the books, where brothels are only one of dozens of business interests he takes little direct hand in. The show also omits the more sympathetic moments from his past, such as when Lysa Date Raped him in the guise of her sister, fueling his misconception that Catelyn loved him.
    • Rast is little more than a jerkass bully who must be convinced to leave Sam alone in the books, but a prominent mutineer who actively wants Sam dead, murders Lord Commander Mormont, and sacrifices an infant to the White Walkers in the show.
    • In the books, Khal Drogo recognizes Daenerys' apprehension on their wedding night and gently coaxes her with foreplay until she consents. In the show, it's a straight-up exertion of his Marital Rape License.
    • Jaime gets a few extra Kick the Dog moments in the show, including killing a kinsman to facilitate his escape (a taboo even violators of Sacred Hospitality balk at in the novels) and being considerably more forceful in his sex scene in "Breaker of Chains", turning a scene that was clearly consensual in the novels into one many viewers regard as rape.
    • Walder Frey is just a touch more monstrous in that in the books he writes off his mentally retarded grandson rather than his wife. In the book, he states that Jinglebell has never been much use to anyone, making him a poor hostage—cruel, but pragmatic. In the show, he simply declares he can always get another wife, making him misogynist to the brink of The Bluebeard.
    • The Thenns and their leader Styr are more traditionally civilized that other wildlings in the books, characterized by their bronze technology, settled lifestyle, and greater respect for authority. In the show, they're a group of scarred up, gleefully sadistic cannibals who frighten and disgust even other merciless raiders.
    • Tormund Giantsbane gets a small dose in that he's less jovial and more brutal than his book counterpart. Most of this stems from his Season 3 characterization as a Composite Character with Styr the Magnar.
    • The show turns Pycelle from the dutiful if somewhat doddering counselor who shows Undying Loyalty to House Lannister of the books into a vindictive Dirty Old Man who only pretends to be senile.
    • Selyse in the books is a haughty and narrow-minded Grande Dame whose complete faith in the Lord of Light leads her to urge radical action. The show emphasizes her fanaticism to the level of a Mad Woman In The Attic who keeps her stillborns in People Jars and despises her own daughter as sinful, whereas in the books she barely mentions her stillbirths and verges on My Beloved Smother in her protection of Shireen.
    • Dagmer in the show is an Evil Mentor with the ideas of killing Ser Rodrik, the two orphans, and Maester Luwin as well as betraying Theon to his enemies. In the books, he does none of these things and acts as Theon's Honorary Uncle, serving as one of the few people in the world to treat him kindly.
    • Though they do become very Knight Templarish in the books, the Brotherhood Without Banners doesn't sell out innocents as they do in the show.
    • Ellaria Sand is the exact opposite of her literary counterpart. In the books, she's a refreshingly compassionate Only Sane Woman who advocates breaking the Cycle of Revenge with Turn the Other Cheek, but the show casts her as a Crusading Widow War Hawk who wants to march on King's Landing or at least take Revenge by Proxy by sending Myrcella home one finger at a time.
    • The Faith Militant is much more murderous and puritanical in the show, using extreme violence against taverns, brothels, and homosexuals of all classes rather than enforcing legitimate laws against murder and adultery upon an aristocracy who consider themselves above the law. Their motivation is also downplayed from the apocalyptic devastation witnessed firsthand by Brienne and Jaime in the books to a few perfunctory lines before they gain the power to start wrecking brothels and murdering homosexuals. Likewise, rather than being shell-shocked survivors of wartime atrocities seeking justice and security through religion, they are Obviously Evil puritan fanatics.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Viserys is described as knowing nothing about dragons or anything else in "The North Remembers", whereas in the books it is only when Daenerys remembers his stories that she discovers how to feed her dragons. She also credits him with keeping them both alive during her childhood and teaching her her own identity, none of which is credited to him in the show.
    • While Sansa was never an Action Girl, the show neglects to give her any proactive role in King's Landing, eventually whisking her away unawares, whereas in the books she traverses the castle armed with a knife to rendezvous with an accomplice and spends months plotting and preparing for her escape. Her small rebellions such as refusing to kneel for Tyrion to cloak her are also sometimes omitted. This trope is most obvious when every sensible character dismisses her as a murder suspect, something everyone believes she's capable of in the novels. This trope also seems to be the main criticism of her becoming a composite of Jeyne Poole in Season 5: while in the books Sansa steadily builds a power base in the Vale, in the show she marries Ramsey, who brutally rapes and abuses her.
    • Some of Arya's more grand and brutal accomplishments in the books are adapted out: she beats up Hot Pie when he bullies her, kills some soldiers before being captured, plots a jailbreak with Jaqen's help, and escapes Harrenhal without it.
    • In the books, Theon is a handsome casanova, a skilled warrior, and a clever tactician whose obsession gets him in over his head. On the show, his cockiness is played up and his capabilities are played down to make him a Casanova Wannabe who is disrespected or humiliated in nearly all of his scenes.
    • Jaime's duel with Brienne is pitiful compared to the books, in which he shows greater stamina despite being in worse physical condition, gives her a nasty leg wound despite wearing heavy shackles instead of just rope, and is only truly overcome when he slips on a wet stone. In the books, Brienne later acknowledges that it was "all she could do to keep his blade at bay" and that "no knight in the Seven Kingdoms could have stood against him at his full strength" instead of scoffing at his overblown reputation as she does in the show. This scene combines with Brienne's general Adaptational Badass changes.
    • Davos gets the lightest touch of this when he is promoted to the role of leading Stannis' fleet into Blackwater Bay. In the books, the fact that Davos (or any other seasoned sailor) was not in charge is a large part of how the fleet was trapped and burned in Blackwater Bay.
    • Joffrey is still largely a coward in the books, but he's also tall and strong for his age and able to spar almost equally with Robb, who is nearly three years his elder. Joffrey in the show is a straight example of a sniveling Miles Gloriosus.
    • Renly's book counterpart is a bold, physically impressive man with an enthusiasm for jousts, though little talent. In the show, he's a meek and squeamish Non-Action Guy who's Afraid of Blood.
    • Edmure Tully is a General Failure Butt Monkey in the show, rather than the able and protective lord who is simply Overshadowed by Awesome from the books. Most notably, his victory at Stone Mill is turned into a Pyrrhic skirmish by a Glory Hound instead of a Crowing Moment of Awesome defeating Tywin Lannister and Gregor Clegane in battle despite being outnumbered.
    • Rickon is far more physically aggressive in the books, with various mentions of him attacking people. In the show he takes his frustration out on some nuts. Shaggydog is also tamer than in the books, but then again CGI-ing all his wild antics would have been difficult and expensive.
    • Rorge and Biter are among the most terrifying psychopaths in Westeros in the books, while in the show they are little more than Fat Bastard Stupid Crooks. Rather than wreaking havoc with a band of outlaws and providing a dangerous Dual Boss challenge, they are easily dispatched in a very ill-conceived attempt at Mugging the Monster.
    • Both versions of Janos Slynt have a Small Name, Big Ego, but in the show he's also a Dirty Coward.
    • Mace Tyrell is a blustering but tenaciously ambitious man in the novels, but a totally ineffectual and sycophantic Momma's Boy in the show. For instance, in the books he constantly presses for important offices for himself and his faction rather than happily fetching quill and paper.
    • From Season 3 on, Loras becomes mild-mannered and In Touch with His Feminine Side rather than the Hot-Blooded, Badass Glory Hound of the novels.
    • In the books, Lord Yohn Royce is one of the few characters who suspects how dangerous Littlefinger and his main opponent in the Vale. In the show, he's taken in by Littlefinger enough that he is entrusted with fostering Robin Arryn, the very thing Littlefinger struggles to avoid doing in A Feast for Crows
    • Hizdahr is a political version. In the books, he uses his political acumen negotiate a truce with the Sons of the Harpy to convince Daenerys to marry him and reopen the pits. In "Kill the Boy", he's imprisoned and forced into it.
    • Daenerys' mounting of Drogon is much more active and heroic in the books, where she runs out to protect her "child" and literally whips a dragon into submission. In "The Dance of Dragons", she's surrounded and passively accepting death before Drogon arrives to carry her away.
  • Adaptation Distillation: As an adaptation of a series of Doorstopper novels, even with about 10 hours of screen time devoted to each book, there's a lot of condensing to reduce the number of characters and subplots. With three of the seven planned books already taking up four of the seven (possibly eight) planned seasons, this is certain to only increase going forward, especially in adapting most of two books in Season 5. Notable examples include:
    • In the books, Jon, Arya, and most likely Rickon also have a warg connection with their direwolves. The show removes this trait from everyone except Bran, since it is integral to his story, whereas the others can work without them to a large degree.
    • The Battle of Blackwater is simplified to an amphibious assault countered by wildfire and reinforcements, eliminating Stannis' land army, Joffrey's fleet, and the chain boom used to trap both fleets in the wildfire inferno.
    • The Battle of Castle Black is simplified to an all-out, one-night attack on Castle Black from north and south. In the books, there are three distinct battles: the Thenns' southern attack (which Jon spoilers), Mance's main assault a few days later that drags on for days, and an attempt by the Weeper to cross the Gorge near the Shadow Tower. The arrival of The Cavalry also borders on Battle Discretion Shot in the show considering the size of Mance's army.
    • Brienne's search for Sansa is condensed into a couple of scenes in which she quickly picks up the correct trail, clearing the way for a more action-oriented Adaptation Expansion than her melancholic A Feast for Crows material witnessing the aftermath of the war and provide context for the rise of the Sparrows.
    • In the books, the election of a new Lord Commander takes many days and involves Sam playing The Chessmaster selling his candidate to different factions in different ways. In "The House of Black and White", it takes only a few minutes, one ballot, and Sam's role is reduced to essentially an attack ad against Janos Slynt.
    • The Vale arc, which has yet to really take off in the novels, is quickly tied up in favour of Sansa taking up the majority of Jeyne Poole's role in A Dance with Dragons, including begging Reek for help.
    • The rise of the High Sparrow and the restoration of the Faith Militant is simplified to Cersei simply imprisoning the reigning High Septon and offering to restore the militant orders in order to strike at the Tyrells. In the books, the High Septon dies by Vorpal Pillow, the sparrows strong-arm the High Sparrow's election, Cersei is coaxed into rearming the Faith to lower the Crown's debts, and her strike at the Tyrells is part of a separate-but-interconnected plot.
    • The Ironborn-related Kingsmoot, Shield Islands, and Iron Fleet subplots are entirely absent so far.
    • The politics of Meereen are very streamlined. The books have more councilors, more killings, more intrigues, and a second war that engulfs Slaver's Bay involving macro politics and economics, bloody sieges, naval blockades, hostage exchanges, treacherous sellswords, a plague of dysentery, and a plot to steal a dragon. The show distills all this down to a power struggle within the city between Daenerys' abolitionists and the Sons of the Harpy.
    • The show keeps all of Stannis' faction together when he marches directly on Winterfell, whereas in the books, Melisandre, Selyse, and Shireen remain at the Wall and Davos is dispatched to seek allies in White Harbor while Stannis rallies the northern mountain clans by liberating Deepwood Motte from the ironborn.
    • Jaime's Season 4 arc has him take over his uncle Kevan's role as Tyrion's quasi-lawyer and go-between and his Season 5 arc sees him undertake a Redemption Quest to Dorne that allows him to interact with the new characters rather than his book arc attempting to reform the Kingsguard, refusing to be Cersei's Yes-Man, and leading a thoroughly successful and professional mopping up campaign in the Riverlands.
    • Of the many prophecies in the books, only Bran and Jojen's prophetic dreams, Melisandre's visions, and Maggy's prophecy to Cersei are kept. This involves characters like the Ghost of High Heart being Adapted Out, and others like Quaithe of Asshai having a more limited role.
    • In general, the many complex family relationships between noble families are either simplified or omitted. This is most obvious with House Frey, which is broken up into factions, suffers from conflicting loyalties, and is part of multiple succession disputes. All this is erased in the show, but not without reason — sifting through that huge family tree would halt all the other plots.
    • The Stannis vs. Bolton story arc is vastly simplified from the book version. Stannis' capture of the Ironborn at Deepwood Motte and alliance with the Mormonts and mountain clans is removed, as are House Bolton's Frey allies and reluctant bannerman. Davos is never sent to find Rickon Stark in exchange for House Manderly's alliance, but rather gets send back to Castle Black to get Jon Snow to send more aid. The delicate and tense balance of power in the North hasn't been touched on, and the Stannis' military strategy is reduced to a single, straightforward, all-out attack.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • All the Stark children in the books have Catelyn's auburn hair except Arya, who shares her brown hair with Ned and Jon Snow. In the show, Bran is brown-haired, Rickon is dark blond, Jon is black-haired, and Robb's auburn fades to brown by Season 2. Only Sansa keeps her red hair, and even it is more ginger than auburn.
    • The Lannisters have bright gold curls in the books but, with the exception of natural blond Charles Dance (Tywin), are given a much straighter, dirty blond in the show to cope with the actors' natural dark hair. This is particularly noticeable whenever Peter Dinklage (Tyrion) or Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime) grow any kind of beard or stubble, which remains undyed.
    • The Targaryens of the book have very striking Mystical Silver Hair and Supernatural Purple Eyes as opposed to the platinum blond hair and natural eyes of the show. Word Of God is that the purple contact lenses interfered with the actors' performances.
    • The dragon Viserion is cream-white accented with gold in the books but a straight brownish-gold in the show.
    • The distinctive jet-black Baratheon hair of the novels is dark brown in the show, which is a natural shade for most of the actors, though Joe Dempsie (Gendry) is a natural blond dyed to match the other actors because his hair is a plot point. Gendry is also notable for being one of the few Baratheon characters to have the piercing blue eyes of his book-counterpart.
    • Catelyn's brother Edmure and uncle Brynden also lack the auburn Tully hair of their book counterparts. (The Blackfish has gone completely grey in the books, but in the show he clearly has dark hair under the grey).
    • Asha Greyjoy has black hair and dark eyes in the books. Yara has mid-brown hair and blue eyes in the show.
    • Daario Naharis does not dye his hair blue or have a gold tooth as in the books.
    • In the books, Ghiscari nobles are frequently described as having their hair dyed and sculpted into outrageous shapes and colours. To avoid the great potential for narm, the series omits this detail and the minor plot points involved, such as those who support Daenerys shaving off said hair.
    • Daenerys' vision of her stillborn son is one of a bronze-skinned man with silver hair in the books but a brown-haired white baby in the show.
    • The vibrant wardrobes and banners are given a more subdued, pastel treatment across the board on the show.
      • In the March 28, 2014 issue of Entertainment Weekly, costume designer Michelle Clapton revealed this was intentional in the case of swapping the Tyrell's green-and-gold for a gentler teal-and-cream palette to emphasize their Silk Hiding Steel philosophy. An exception that proves this rule is Loras' sparring outfit in "Kissed By Fire", where there is no need to disguise that he is a formidable Tyrell warrior. This endures until "Oathkeeper" when hints of green and gold begin to creep into the Tyrell wardrobes until they are all bedecked in it in "The Laws of Gods and Men". That they have quite literally shown their true colours symbolizes both their confidence in the now-formalized alliance and their willingness to now push back against the Lannisters.
      • The Bolton banner has a black or dark blue field instead of a pink one and their wardrobe is likewise darkened, no doubt to avoid the potential narm of Real Men Wear Pink.
      • Renly adopts the colours of House Tyrell for his Baratheon sigil in the show. In the book, he incorporates their sigil and colours in a dozen other ways but always retains the traditional black stag on gold as a sign of legitimacy.
  • Adaptation Expansion: By focusing on a more limited number of storylines and characters, the series also has the opportunity to expand on some aspects of the story.
    • Loras and Renly's relationship is only heavily implied in the novels, and the bedroom dynamics of Renly's marriage to Margaery are never revealed. The show brings both of these to the fore.
    • Tywin's Establishing Character Moment of butchering a stag (the symbol of House Baratheon) while lecturing Jaime about legacy is unique to the show.
    • Robb's campaign is told entirely second-hand in A Clash of Kings. The show distills this into the Battle of Oxcross to make room for a romance between Robb and Talisa that leads them to marry for love instead of the self-imposed Shotgun Wedding of the novels.
    • The stolen dragons aspect of Daenerys' Qarth arc is unique to the show. In fact, very little of Daenerys' Season 2 material happened in the books.
    • Both Tywin and Catelyn's relationship with their respective unfavorite child is expanded upon. Both admit they once wished death on the child, repented of that impulse, but still could not bring themselves to love him.
    • Theon's extensive torture throughout Season 3 is only recalled in flashbacks, sometimes very obliquely, in the novels. For instance, his penectomy is only referenced as "that other thing," in a list of lost appendages.
    • The majority of Olenna's scenes have no counterpart in the books, particularly those that characterize her as a Cool Old Lady.
    • The episode "Oathkeeper" explicitly shows what happens to Craster's sons, something that has only been hinted in the novels.
    • We see the actions of Night's Watch mutineers at Craster's Keep, whereas the books only subtly imply what happens to them.
    • In the book Arya's travels with the Hound after the Red Wedding are mostly left unseen and are only briefly covered after the fact. In the show Arya spends all of season 4 travelling with the Hound and quite a bit of time is spent showing the development of their relationship.
    • In the books Jon remains at Castle Black and only receives news about what happened at Hardhome. On the show he goes there himself and slays a White Walker with Longclaw, before coming face to face with the Night's King.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication:
    • In the books, Drogo removes Mirri Maz Duur's poultice and relies on the Dothraki healers instead, lending some credence to Mirri, who criticized the Dothraki methods, when his wound gets infected. In the TV series, they use Mirri's method, Drogo gets infected anyway, and Daenerys still trusts her to heal him again, making her seem oddly trusting of someone she knows so little about.
    • In "Blackwater", Sansa refuses to escape with the Hound, as she does in the books. However, in the books the Hound is menacing to the point of a Near-Rape Experience and Sansa already has her own escape plan, neither of which are in the show, greatly reducing her reasons for refusing.
    • In "Kissed By Fire", Jaime refuses milk of the poppy for his surgery without offering an explanation. In the books (and the DVD Commentary) it's explained that Jaime doesn't trust Qyburn not to decide to beg forgiveness rather than permission and take his whole arm off while he's incapacitated.
    • The three-eyed crow says he has been watching with "a thousand eyes and one," despite having two eyes rather than one as he does in the book.
    • The show has yet to get around to the confirm who actually sent the assassin to kill Bran after his fall, leaving one of the major instigating events of the War of Five Kings unexplained.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
    • The sole survivor of the prologue to the first book, A Game of Thrones, is Gared, who stays with the horses and flees when the Others attack. In the series, we see the survivor, Will, come face-to-face with the White Walkers, but how or why he survived is never explained.
    • A similar event occurs in "Valar Morghulis" when a White Walker looks directly at Sam but leaves him alive for no apparent reason. In the equivalent chapter of A Storm of Swords, Sam is encamped with rest of the Night's Watch and escapes with them.
    • "Winter is Coming" has a small one that only becomes clear when it's revealed Lysa's letter was actually a ploy. In the books, Catelyn's reaction is to urge Ned to go, which plays perfectly into the schemer's expectation of the only person they know at Winterfell. In the show, she staunchly opposes it, meaning the schemer was just shooting in the dark.
    • During their parley, Stannis declares his conflict with Renly will be settled at dawn, yet his fleet is still far out to sea the next day, meaning Stannis sailed in for the parley and back out without bringing his forces in close enough to catch anyone who might flee after Renly's murder, which he was clearly planning. In the books, the parley takes place between the two armies and Stannis only fails to capture those who flee because he lacks the cavalry to catch them.
    • When Davos rows Melisandre ashore in "Garden of Bones", the two of them cross the open beach to a cave containing a locked gate and treat it as if it is blocking the only passage to Renly's camp, even though a camp the size of Renly's must have other approaches. In the novels this scene takes place in the bowels of Storm's End after Davos pilots Melisandre beneath the walls to bypass the ancient enchantments blocking the passage of her shadow assassin.
    • Matthos (who is easily in his twenties) argues the Lord of Light's power by bringing up his answered childhood prayers for his father's safety, yet Melisandre and her red god are obviously a new influence at Stannis' court in "The North Remembers" judging by Maester Cressen's protests against her. In the books, Davos' twelve-year-old son Devan is a new convert to the Lord of Light, but his older boys still hold to the Seven.
    • In the books, Summer and Shaggydog cannot protect Bran and Rickon during Theon's surprise attack because they have been locked in the godswood after Shaggy bit Little Walder for roughhousing with Rickon. In the series, they are absent without explanation.
    • During the show's Qarth arc, Daenerys goes from obviously on the run to waltzing into the bedchamber of the city's most powerful man with armed men after merely escaping the House of the Undying, then simply leaves, having annihilated the city's rulers. In the books, she is run out of the city by the warlocks after Xaro withdraws his patronage.
    • After his break with them, Robb declares that the Karstark forces have marched ""home"", totally disregarding that the Greyjoys hold the fortress of Moat Cailin, making this totally impossible. Retaking the Moat even becomes the main Bolton plotline in Season 4. In the novels, the Karstarks set off south and east to pillage the Riverlands in search of the Kingslayer instead.
    • In the books, Littlefinger uses Lysa's despised singer Marillion as his patsy for Lysa's murder. Unfortunately, the show already amputated Marillion's tongue in place of a random singer in "Fire and Blood" and neglected to furnish a replacement, making Littlefinger's plan quite uncharacteristically amateurish in order for Sansa to step up to save him.
    • The Canon Foreigner child Robert and Cersei had together provides drama in the first season, but isn't fitted into some other elements of the story. When we hear the prophecy Cersei received in her youth in "The Wars to Come", the writers trip in their math by leaving Cersei's offspring at three and the prophecy's tone suggesting she and Robert wouldn't have any children together.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • The White Walkers are usually called "the Others" by Westerosi in the books, but the show uses a wildling term instead because Capital Letters Are Magic doesn't come across well when spoken and it avoids any inadvertent reference to Lost.
    • Robert Arryn is renamed Robin (after an In Universe Nickname from the books) to avoid confusion with Robert Baratheon.
    • Asha Greyjoy is renamed Yara to avoid confusion with Osha the wildling.
    • Two minor characters named Grazdan in the book are renamed Greizhen and Razdal in the show in an apparent effort to enforce a One Steve Limit. The books note that many Ghiscari are named Grazdan after their founder, Grazdan the Great.
    • The Three-Eyed Raven is a Three-Eyed Crow in the books, which is a species change in truth, though he was also a crow of another sort in the novels.
    • Gilly's baby is named Sam in the show, but has yet to be formally named in the books due to a wildling taboo against naming children before the age of two.
    • The Meereenese child eaten by Drogon in "The Children" is Hazzea in the books, but Zollo in the show.
    • The Unsullied murdered in "The Wars To Come" is called White Rat rather than Stalwart Shield. In the books, many Unsullied choose to reclaim their birth names or take new ones instead of retaining their vermin names as Grey Worm did, but the show never goes into this.
    • In the books, the term "warg" is reserved for those who bond with wolves; those who bond with other animals are "skinchangers." The show calls everyone wargs and even uses the term as a verb.
    • Arya's shellfish peddler persona is named Lanna rather than Cat of the Canals. This change even gets a Visual Pun Mythology Gag when a cat crosses her path.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: The woman who serves in the House of Black and White in "High Sparrow" strikes and bullies Arya in a very Alpha Bitch way, whereas the Waif is very friendly to Arya in the books.
  • Adapted Out: Hundreds of the Loads and Loads of Characters (including some with fairly important subplots) don't make it to the screen because of Pragmatic Adaptation and Adaptation Distillation. Notable examples include:
    • Several major family trees have been trimmed for simplicity.
      • The Tyrell sons Willas and Garlan, whose important roles are delegated to Loras or Margaery. Interestingly, their removal wasn't official until Season 3, explaining why Loras becoming a celibate Kingsguard is a threat to the Tyrell legacy in Season 3 but not in Season 2.
      • Doran Martell's elder children Arianne and Quentyn, who are viewpoint characters in the novels.
      • Theon's three badass uncles Euron the mad pirate, Victarion the brutal admiral, and Aeron the fanatical priest, two of whom become viewpoints in the novels.
      • For the sake of narrative brevity, a generation is omitted from the Targaryen line, removing Jaeherys II from the line of Targaryen kings.
      • Tywin has four younger siblings in the books — Kevan, Tygett, Genna, and Gerion — who each have families of their own. Only Kevan and his family make it onto the show (though his younger sons are changed into distant cousins). Ser Daven, Tywin's first cousin once-removed, hasn't been included either due to changes in Jaime's storyline. There are Canon Foreigner cousins, but overall the show has fewer Lannisters than the books.
      • Mya Stone and Edric Storm, two of Robert's bastards. Mya has interactions with Catelyn and becomes one of Sansa's friends, but doesn't appear in the show. Edric's role in Stannis's storyline was taken over by Gendry.
      • Davos actually has seven sons in the books. The four eldest die in battle, the fifth serves as a squire to Stannis, and the two youngest remain home with their mother. On the show Davos only has Matthos.
    • The Spicers and Westerlings in favour of Canon Foreigner Talisa (who only briefly mentions the latter family in late Season 2).
    • Aside from an All There in the Manual cameo and an offhand mention, Sansa's best friend Jeyne Poole does not appear in the series and her key role in A Dance with Dragons is given to Sansa instead.
    • Daenerys' Meereenese courtiers Reznak, Skahaz, and the Green Grace. Her city watch, the Brazen Beasts, don't make an appearance either.
    • Mance Rayder's pregnant wife Dalla and her sister Val the "Wildling Princess".
    • Several characters involved with Cersei's arc later on. The brothers Kettleblack, her hired swords; her confidant Taena of Myr; and the new members of her Small Council, Harys Swyft, Aurane Waters, Orton Merryweather, and Gyles Rosby.
    • The Humanoid Abomination known as Coldhands who features prominently in both Sam and Bran's stories.
    • Many northern bannerman such as the morbidly obese Wyman Manderly, the vengeful Barbary Dustin, the twisted Arnolf Karstark, the brothers Crowfood and Whoresbane, and the mountain clans.
    • The vengeful Lady Stoneheart.
    • Shireen's lack-wit Monster Clown Patchface, who speaks accurate prophesies and unnerves even Melisandre.
    • The Large Ham eunuch Strong Belwas, whose role as Daenerys' champion in "Breaker of Chains" and backstory as a gladiator are given to Daario instead.
    • Vargo Hoat and his Brave Companions are substituted by a group of Bolton men-at-arms led by Locke. Because the Weasel Soup incident is omitted, Rorge and Biter simply remain in the Lannister army instead of joining them.
    • Donal Noye's important roles are divided between Tyrion, Alliser Thorne, and Grenn.
    • Griff, Young Griff, and their entourage are all cut, with Griff's greyscale infection given to Jorah instead.
    • Penny, who becomes Tyrion's Morality Pet in A Dance with Dragons.
    • Theon's squire Wex Pyke, who becomes a Chekhov's Gunman with valuable information about the Sack of Winterfell and the missing Stark princes.
  • Addictive Magic: As an adventurous boy before being paralyzed, it's natural for Bran to want to spend as much time running and hunting in Summer's skin as possible, but Jojen warns him that too much of this will cause him to forget he's actually human.
  • Adipose Rex:
    • King Robert was a great warrior in his youth, but a decade of drinking and feasting has left him as one of these.
    • Magister Illyrio is overweight and has a high rank in Pentos.
    • The Spice King is fat and apparently leads the Thirteen of Qarth.
  • Admiring the Abomination: Cersei seems quite impressed with the killing power of Gregor Clegane in Season 4 and is keen to ensure he retains his killing power after his near death. She is also highly curious about Qyburn's talents, giving him the patronage that the Citadel emphatically refused. She's obviously very pleased by the results: Robert Strong.
  • Adopt the Dog: Renly grants Brienne's wish to join his Kingsguard even though it would've been easier for him to conform to expectations by rejecting her seeing as his bannermen gasp audibly, his wife gives a disapproving look, and his lover berates him for it later that evening.
  • Adorkable:
    • Sam is a timid bookworm, and just about the nicest guy in the Night's Watch.
    • Pod is nervous, bumbling, and nearly impossible to dislike.
  • Adult Fear: Families trying to protect their own is a major theme in the series. When they fail, it's this trope.
    • Catelyn comes to believe her entire family has been lost. Her husband is executed, her daughter married to an enemy, and all the others are presumed dead.
    • The death of Joffrey Baratheon as his mother looks on helplessly.
    • In Season 3, it's easy to empathize with Gilly's fear for her son, who is slated for a Human Sacrifice.
    • In "Kill the Boy", Maester Aemon laments that the only remaining scion of House Targaryen besides himself is in huge trouble across the world and he's powerless to help.
    • Part of Jon's appeal to the wildlings in "Hardhome" is that their children will not live to have children of their own if they don't come south. Later in the same episode, the chieftainess Karsi is shown sending her children ahead to the boats and is visibly horrified by the sight of child wights.
    • Despite her Abusive Parent relationship with Shireen and her adamant faith, being forced to watch Shireen burn at the stake forces Selyse into a full-on Villainous Breakdown as she attempts to stop it.
  • Advertised Extra: Who gets credited in the opening sequence seems to have little bearing on how many episodes they're featured in. A quick glance at the seasons' cast shows that many who were credited as guests actually appeared in more episodes than some that were credited as regulars. It seems to get worse as the show goes on; in the first season, all but two of the regulars appeared in at least 8 out of 10 episodes. By the fourth season, nearly half the cast appears in half the episodes or less.
    • This trope reaches its logical extreme in "First of his Name" when Nikolaj Coster-Waldau receives top billing in Peter Dinklage's absence despite only appearing in a crowd scene and having no lines.
  • Aerith and Bob:
    • Well, Aerys and Robb are the names of two notable kings. Westerosi tend to have European names, some familiar (Robert, Jon), some with odd spellings (Olyvar, Petyr), and some exotic (Cersei, Sandor). People whose families hail from outside Westeros, like the Dothraki and the Targaryens, have fantastical names (Aerys, Drogo).
    • This also goes for place names. The continent of Westeros boasts names like King's Landing and the North, while Essos is home to places like Braavos, Meereen, and Valyria.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Jaime is usually all smirks and witty remarks. He has a few friendly conversations with various characters, but can also be arrogant and casually condescending as well. Over the course of Season 3, he gets some Character Development.
    • Bronn is witty, charming, and laid-back but also a ruthless killer who will do just about anything for a price. He and the Hound nearly come to blows over the fact that Bronn pretends to be a nice guy while the Hound wears his brutality on his sleeve.
    • Roose Bolton, as the Starks' Token Evil Teammate, is a calm, polite, accommodating, and respectful man who happens to enjoy inflicting emotional cruelty on his enemies.
    • Mad Doctoring aside, Qyburn is polite and grandfatherly enough that even Cersei, who hates just about everyone she hasn't given birth to, admits a fondness for him.
    • The High Sparrow is a kindly, avuncular, and humble holy man who cares for the poor... and the leader of a band of violently puritanical fanatics.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head:
    • Davos gives Shireen a kiss on the forehead for prompting his Eureka Moment in "Breaker of Chains".
    • Volantenes believe it's good luck to rub a dwarf's head and aren't shy about doing it without permission. Tyrion is not amused.
  • Affectionate Nickname: According to the "New Characters" featurette for Season 3, Jojen Reed is sometimes called "Little Grandfather" because of his solemn wisdom.
  • Afraid of Blood: Renly is very squeamish around anything gory, which even his lover views as a weak trait.
    Renly: All I ever hear from Robert and Stannis is how I'm not tough enough, how I squirm at the sight of blood.
    Loras: You did vomit when that boy's eye was knocked out in the melee.
  • Afro Asskicker: Syrio Forel, Arya's Large Ham fencing instructor. It's a good substitute for his Bald of Awesome in the novels.
  • After Action Patch Up:
    • Arya talks the Hound into letting her clean and sew the wound on his neck in "Mockingbird", which provides a moment of bonding between them, however reluctant.
    • Gilly tends to Sam after he risks his life for her in "The Gift". Rescue Sex ensues.
  • Age Lift:
    • In the books, the Ned/Catelyn/Robert/Cersei/Jaime generation are in their early to mid 30s and their children range from 3 to 14. In the show, the older generation is roughly a decade older (Cersei and Jaime are stated outright to be 40 in Season 4) and the youths are aged up several years and played by actors in their teens and twenties. Word Of God says this was to avoid the drama of "kid" actors, downplay the aging the kids would undergo over the production, and avoid legal hurdles and Deliberate Values Dissonance of underage actors in sexual situations.
    • Joffrey is an interesting case. He is explicitly stated to be seventeen in Season 2. Since his name day occurs in the season premier, this would make him sixteen in Season 1 (as opposed to 12 in the first book), yet it remains a plot point that Joffrey needs a regent because he is not yet of age (which is sixteen in the books and the show never establishes anything different).
    • The Hound is only twenty-seven in the books. Rory Mc Cann is in his mid forties.
    • Littlefinger is only thirty in the books, while Aidan Gillen is in his mid forties.
    • Shae is only eighteen in the books.
    • Podrick is twelve in the books, but in at least his late teens in the show.
    • Missandei is aged up from ten to her early twenties, allowing her a romantic subplot.
    • Hodor is referred to as a stableboy and implied to be a fairly youthful adult, but is played by middle-aged Kristian Nairn because he has the size (he's nearly 6'11") to make the role convincing.
    • Tommen and Myrcella are eight and nine years old in the books, but are teens of marrying age by Season 5.
    • Brienne goes from eighteen to somewhere in her thirties, judging by Gwendoline Christie's appearance.
    • Margaery is quite a bit older than sixteen in the show. She is also Mace Tyrell's oldest child instead of his youngest as she was in the novels.
    • Beric Dondarrion is in his early twenties in the books, but Richard Dormer is clearly much older.
    • Doran's son Trystane is aged up to stay of an age with Myrcella.
  • Agent Mulder: Old Nan earns her keep at Winterfell looking after the Stark children and entertaining them, especially Bran, with her stories and legends, which she seems to believe (and the audience has good reason to believe too, given the return of the White Walkers). Later, Osha the wildling tells Bran similar mystical things about the old gods, which Maester Luwin plays the Agent Scully to as a man of science.
  • Agent Peacock:
    • Loras may be a young, Pretty Boy fop, but that doesn't mean he isn't one of the best knights in the realm, which is proven in combat when he becomes a hero of the Battle of the Blackwater.
    • Oberyn Martell is a bisexual prince who prefers to do business in bed, but also a formidable fighter known as the Red Viper for his habit of poisoning his weapons.
  • Agent Scully:
    • Westerosi society in general in earlier seasons, though they make a rather sudden transition to believing in dragons (though not White Walkers) in Season 4.
    • Maester Luwin, as a man of science, plays the Scully to Osha and Old Nan's Agent Mulder by dismissing Bran's wolf dreams and Osha's accounts of the White Walkers by explaining that he studied magic and his attitude is that it was all either made up or went away long ago, something the audience knows is no longer true.
    • In "Hardhome", Loboda the Thenn is disdainful of the old stories about dragonglass, leading Karsi to wonder how he can be so obtuse after all the mystical things they've already seen.
  • Agony of the Feet: Theon's Cold-Blooded Torture begins with the application of an Instep bore that leaves him with a pronounced limp.
  • A House Divided:
    • Westeros in general is so caught up in a civil war that it isn't preparing for winter or the supernatural threats that are coming with it.
    • There has always been tension within House Lannister and they manage Teeth-Clenched Teamwork throughout the war, but as the war winds down they turn on each other.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg:
    • When Tywin declares his plans to place Cersei in a new Arranged Marriage, she is quickly reduced to begging him not to.
    • After being very gravely wounded many miles from help, Sandor Clegane is forced to tearfully beg his companion for a Mercy Kill.
    • In "High Sparrow", Janos Slynt starts crying and pleading when he finally realizes Jon is serious about executing him. Jon executes him anyway.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • Viserys' death is rather pathetic, even if he did earn it through a cavalcade of sneering villainy and dog kicking.
    • Doreah cries pathetically for forgiveness. Interestingly, the character's sole villainous act was left on the cutting room floor, making it rather ambiguous whether they were truly a willing participant in the villainy, which was not present at all in the source material.
    • Theon is a lech, an oathbreaker, and a child-murderer, but damned if Cold-Blooded Torture in a medieval Room 101 doesn't make you pity the guy.
    • Despite being the go-to character for Kick the Dog, Joffrey's death early in Season 4 is very poignant, especially in the case of Cersei's reaction.
    • Ygritte's death in Jon's arms during the Battle of Castle Black is crushingly sad, despite the character becoming very dark very quickly.
  • The Alcoholic:
    • Robert has fallen deep into alcoholism and almost always has a drink to hand. At one point he even answers the deep question of what he wants with a raised goblet of wine. It is also the most common refrain in negative assessments of him.
    • Cersei shows an increasing fondness for wine throughout the series, and notably gets quite drunk during the Battle of Blackwater. Jaime mentions it in "Two Swords" and Margaery uses it as a barb in their Politeness Judo in "High Sparrow"
      Margaery: I wish we had some wine [for you]. It's a bit early in the day for us.
    • Tyrion is definitely a very high-functioning example, since he is almost never seen without some kind of booze at hand. Tywin is particularly annoyed by this and tends to withhold wine during their interactions. Recent events put Tyrion into full-blown Drowning My Sorrows early in Season 5. Daenerys quickly picks up on it and starts restricting his drinking.
    • Ser Dontos Hollard shows up to a tourney so drunk he struggles to pick up his own helmet.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy:
    • Viserys stumbles drunkenly into a Dothraki feast and proceeds to insult everyone and threaten them with a sword, breaking a major Dothraki taboo.
    • In defiance of all warnings, Tyrion—who has been Drowning My Sorrows all the way from King's Landing—makes no attempt to hide his identity in a Volantene brothel, even talking openly about his former wealth and position.
  • All Animals Are Dogs:
    • Subverted by the dragons, who are cute, obedient pets at first but become fiercer and harder to control as they grow.
    • The Stark direwolves behave just like very large dogs, regardless of Qhorin's claims that a wild thing that can never truly be known. It's implied that there's more than a little magic involved.
  • All for Nothing: Jorah's plan to regain Daenerys' favour by presenting her with Tyrion. All he gets out of the whole adventure is a case of greyscale.
  • All Gays Are Promiscuous:
    • Downplayed by Loras Tyrell. He is rather easily seduced by the first homosexual to cross his path and exchanges sultry looks with the openly bisexual Oberyn Martell, but this largely fits with a show where Everyone Has Lots of Sex. However, the trope is noticeable in comparison to his literary incarnation, who remains celibate as part of his Undying Loyalty to Renly.
    • Played Straight in "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken", when Olenna declares, "Renly Baratheon shagged half the stableboys in the Seven Kingdoms."
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Discussed in "Two Swords", when Arya demands her own horse for perfectly practical reasons but the Hound taunts her with, "Little lady wants a pony."
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Deconstructed by Sansa, who convinces herself Joffrey is her Prince Charming even after seeing clear hints of what a Royal Brat he really is because she wants a hero, not a villain. That ends the moment he leaps the Moral Event Horizon by executing her father and calling it mercy.
  • The Alliance:
    • Robert's Rebellion, which gathered four of the eight Great Houses against the King.
    • Mance Rayder has managed to unite dozens of fractious wildling tribes for an invasion of the south.
  • Alliterative Name: Surprisingly few given the Loads and Loads of Characters: Sansa Stark, Podrick Payne, Lancel Lannister, Salladhor Saan, Mandon Moore, and Boros Blount. Lancel's name is even lampshaded when Robert asks if he was named by a half-wit with a stutter.
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
    • Lysa Arryn only has a thing for Petyr Baelish, who only has a thing for Catelyn (and her Generation Xerox daughter Sansa), while Catelyn only sees Petyr as a little brother.
    • Brienne loves Renly, but his affections lie with Loras.
    • Orell declares his feelings for Ygritte, but she rejects him in favour of Jon.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Shae cautions Sansa that men have only one reason for wanting to help pretty girls and never see themselves as too old.
  • All of the Other Reindeer:
    • Tyrion is treated as evil incarnate by the populace of Westeros mostly because they believe Beauty Equals Goodness and he only entered politics after times started getting bad, a fact not helped by his drinking, whoring, and snarking. His own family (except Jaime) also largely excludes him because of Maternal Death? Blame the Child.
    • Stannis, despite fighting steadfastly for his brother, is relegated to lord of a few rocky islands in the Narrow Sea and widely disliked for his rigid justice and humourless demeanor.
    • Walder Frey knows the other noble houses look down on his family and him personally for being tardy to the Battle of the Trident, so he demands a good reason why he should waste a single thought on any of them.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The Complete Guide to Westeros included in the Blu-ray releases. The Season 2 Blu-ray includes not only the Histories & Lore section but also a War of the Five Kings feature that explains the origin of the Brotherhood Without Banners, the Houses that declare for Renly and then for Stannis, and even why the Greatjon is missing from Season 2.
    • Karl Tanner was never named on-screen in Season 3, leading several early reviews to use names from other characters used to composite him, such as Dirk.
    • The names of Daenerys' dragons were this for a long time. Drogon is finally name-dropped thirty episodes after his introduction and his brothers Rhaegal and Viserion had to wait for the Season 5 premiere.
    • The names of countless minor characters and extras are provided only by the books. For instance, the Night's Watch deserters who attack Bran with Osha are called Stiv and Wallen, and the two Kingsguard who attack Brienne in "The Ghost of Harrenhal" are Ser Emmon Cuy and Ser Robar Royce.
  • All There in the Script:
    • Dany's dragons are called Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion, but you wouldn't know it until Season 5 if you hadn't read the books. Drogon finally gets name dropped in the Season 4 finale, thirty episodes after his introduction and Rhaegal and Viserion had to wait for the Season 5 premiere.
    • Since "wight" and "white" are homophones, casual viewers can confuse the "wights" (reanimated corpses) and the "White Walkers" (the creatures who reanimate them).
    • The unidentified giant Jon encounters in "Valar Dohaeris" and who later fights in "The Watchers on the Wall" is referred to as "Dongo the Doomed" in the script.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us:
    • This is how the Targaryens regard the Sack of King's Landing and and Robert's claim to the Iron Throne.
    • Theon takes Winterfell with a tiny force thanks to a feint and holds it for a while in Season 2. The Boltons take up residence at the end of Season 4.
    • Robb has this in mind for the Lannisters in Season 3 with his plans to besiege Casterly Rock.
    • In "Oathkeeper", Daenerys takes up residence in the Great Pyramid, the most impressive building in Meereen, and drapes the Targaryen banner over the Ghiscari harpy at its peak.
  • Almighty Janitor:
    • This is Ramsay's cover to gain Theon's trust.
    • Hobb and the other cooks prove their worth as brothers of the Night's Watch when they defend their mess hall from wildlings with cooking pots and a big-ass cleaver.
    • Tyrion tells Varys that at age sixteen his father assigned him control of all the drains and cisterns in Casterly Rock, which Tyrion proceeded to revolutionize.
  • Almost Kiss:
    • During her instruction in the art of lovemaking, Daenerys flips Doreah onto her back an starts to lean in before panicking and backing off.
    • Margaery nearly kisses Tommen on the lips in "Oathkeeper" before deciding a sisterly one on the cheek will be more effective.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Robert Baratheon seems to be the only man in the capital unaware of his brother's Open Secret relationship with Loras Tyrell.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Talisa is not impressed the first time she meets Robb.
  • Alpha Bitch: The Waif's treatment of Arya in "High Sparrow" has a strong "Picking On the New Kid" vibe.
  • Altar Diplomacy: Many marriages are political in nature among the noble families, which is unsurprising given the intricate politics in the series.
    • Walder Frey's common price for allowing important people to cross his bridge in times of need is a husband for one of his daughters or granddaughters. Robb Stark is promised to marry a Frey girl for use of the bridge; when he abandons the promise to Marry for Love, things don't end well.
    • Danaerys declares she will marry Hizdahr zo Loraq in an attempt to bring peace to Meereen.
    • Tyrion is arranged to marry Sansa so that he will produce a Lannister heir who would have a claim to the North.
    • Sansa's marriage to Ramsay Bolton is political on both sides - to give the Boltons' rule in Winterfell legitimacy and to allow her to go home to the North.
    • Myrcella Baratheon (Cersei's daughter and the king's sister) is sent to Dorne to marry Prince Trystane Martell and cement an alliance with that house; they end up genuinely falling in love.
  • Alternate Reality Game: The Maester's Path
  • Alternate Universe: Game of Thrones: Ascent follows the plot and events of the TV show (such as the death of Rakharo or Xaro Xhoan Daxos' betrayal) but incorporates elements of the novels like Vaes Tolorro or Catelyn taking two Freys as wards.

    AM - AZ 
  • A Man Is Always Eager:
    • Subverted when Jon tells Sam of how he couldn't go through with losing his virginity because of the anxiety of fathering another bastard like himself.
    • Played straight when Tommen can't get enough on his wedding night, to the amusement of Margaery and her handmaids.
  • Amazon Brigade: Oberyn's three eldest daughters, the Sand Snakes, are all warriors.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Being a psuedo-medieval setting predating psychiatry, characters mental health issues are left entirely undiagnosed in-universe.
    • Viserys exhibits the extreme mood swings between rage and depression commonly attributed to bipolar people.
    • Cersei's black and white concept of friends and enemies, penchant for risky indulgences like adultery and alcoholism, poor control of her emotions, and difficulty empathizing with others have led to a popular theory that she has Borderline Personality Disorder.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Ramsay keeps several women with him at the Dreadfort, but his "games" with Theon/Reek are filled with 100% nightmare-inducing homosexual undertones.
  • Ambiguously Evil:
    • Melisandre is brutal, fanatical, and vindictive but seems to truly believe her actions are a necessary evil to defeat the White Walkers.
    • Judging by her dialogue and her willingness to marry Joffrey, Margaery's main motivation is ambition: she wants to be the Queen. However, she doesn't come across as villainous because the manner in which she pursues her goal hasn't hurt anyone yet and her targets are mostly Asshole Victims.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • Sandor Clegane is left crippled and grievously wounded many miles from help, but his death is not confirmed. The ambiguity is increased by the actor's absence from a round-table interview featuring those whose characters had been killed in Season 4.
    • Ser Alliser Thorne takes a serious wound and is dragged away in "The Watchers on the Wall", leaving it unclear whether he survives until the Season 5 premiere, "The Wars to Come".
    • The abductor at the end of "High Sparrow" doesn't specify which queen he's taking his captive to, which is a matter of life and death.
    • "Sons of the Harpy" ends with two characters collapsing from their wounds, but not necessarily dead. Unfortunately, Trailers Always Spoil.
  • Ambition Is Evil:
    • After watching his dynasty nearly ruined by his ineffectual father, Tywin Lannister's dream is to "establish a dynasty that will last a thousand years," and he will do anything, no matter how vicious, to maintain his family's greatness.
    • Littlefinger was born without wealth, influence, or a great title. By Season 3, he's gained all three by being a scheming backstabber.
    • Zigzagged by the Tyrells, who aim to increase their own power and prestige through some fairly shady schemes, but are adored in-universe for their appearance as noble and charitable figures and the fandom can empathize with them in their rivalry with the proud and conservative Lannisters.
    • According to writer David Benioff, Stannis chooses ambition over family in "The Dance of Dragons".
  • Amnesia Danger: Things would have been a lot simpler if Bran could recall how and why he fell.
  • Always Someone Better: Both Jon and Theon talk about coming to terms with growing up in Robb's shadow.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • As pointed out in the DVD Commentary, the tapestry on the wall behind Viserys during his introduction in "Winter is Coming" shows two ships blasting away at each other with cannons.
    • Despite the series' well-established Con Lang, the slogan "Kill the Masters" is written in Westerosi (read: English) language and script in both "Oathkeeper" and "The House of Black and White" when Meereenese should be writing Low Valyrian in glyphs similar to those Talisa uses in Season 3). This is most likely Rule of Perception, since even characters who speak entirely in Con Lang can read it effortlessly.
  • Analogy Backfire:
    • When Ned confronts Cersei about her twincest with Jaime, she responds that the Targaryens, the family that produced the Mad King, did the same thing for centuries. She later realizes and laments this backfire in Season 2.
    • During "Blackwater", Cersei tries to comfort Tommen with a fable about a young lion destined to be king surrounded by a forest of evil creatures like stags. Tommen points out, "Stags aren't evil; they only eat grass."
    • Qyburn defends his vivisection of living men For Science! by positing that the knowledge helped him save many more, then asks how many men Jaime has saved with his sword. He's nonplussed when Jaime answers, "500,000; the population of King's Landing."
    • Melisandre attempts to explain the concept of her sacrificial victims' transcendence by comparing it to childbirth: pain and suffering followed by joy. Shireen points out that mothers aren't piles of ash and bone afterward.
  • Angrish: Pycelle is prone to stammering gibberish when panicked or offended, such as his arrest by Tyrion or his dismissal by Cersei.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Valyrian steel weapons are so prized they are usually these. Examples include House Stark's greatsword Ice and House Mormont's hand-and-a-half sword Longclaw. House Lannister has long lacked such a swordnote , until Tywin has Ice reforged into two Valyrian swords, one each for his son and grandson. Only the Targaryens have matched such a status symbol with their swords Blackfyre and Dark Sister.
  • Ancient Tradition: Founded some 8,000 years ago and electing their 998th lord commander in Season 5, the Night's Watch is by far the oldest institution in the realm.
  • And Another Thing: Tywin occasionally ends meetings with an afterthought. His hostile distaste for Tyrion's whoremongering ends their conversations in "Fire and Blood" and "Valar Dohaeris", and in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" he ends a one-sided audience with Joffrey with a slightly condescending, "Your Grace."
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Khal Drogo is mercy-killed with a Vorpal Pillow after he ends up locked in a magical coma.
    • This is the fate planned for Daenerys in "Valar Morghulis", but the tables end up turned.
    • Varys describes his castration by a sorcerer in these terms, apparently being fully conscious but unable to move or speak during the ritual. Understandably, he's hated magic ever since.
  • And Starring:
    • Peter Dinklage gets this during the open credits in Season 1 before moving to top billing in Season 2.
    • Jason Momoa receives this, but curiously only in the end credits after all the guest stars.
    • Starting with Season 4, Iain Glen receives the more prominent "with" credit at the end of the cast list.
  • And Then What?:
    • Asked verbatim by Talisa to point out Robb is fighting to overthrow a king with no plan for what comes after.
    • When Daenerys contemplates an attack on King's Landing in "First of His Name", Jorah reminds her that seizing the capital isn't the same as conquering the continent and that is all she can do with 10,000 men, especially if the rest of Westeros unites against her.
    • Tyrion asks this of Daenerys' plan to claim Westeros. Even if she ascends the Iron Throne, what will a woman who has never set foot on the continent be like as a ruler?
    • When Bronn asks how Jaime plans to get Myrcella out of Dorne, Jaime doesn't have an answer.
  • And Zoidberg: Bran prays for the safety of his family and friends, "And Theon, too, I suppose."
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Jorah finally spits it out to Daenerys in "The Mountain and the Viper", but it is too late and she throws the words back at him in anger.
  • Animal Motifs: Used both for noble Houses and individual nicknames. The sigils next to the actors' names also correspond to their characters' Houses.
    • Many Houses have animal sigils that say something metaphorical about them. It is implied that some Houses have a paranormal affinity for their sigil animal as well, such as the Targaryens who once rode dragons and the Starks who seem to have a mystical bond with their direwolves.
    • The Stark sigil is a grey direwolf, a fitting match for a noble dynasty from the Grim Up North.
    • The Lannister sigil is a lion and they frequently use King of Beasts as dynastic propaganda, such as when Tywin declares that "A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep." Jaime asks, "By what right does the wolf judge the lion?!" and Cersei uses a parable about lions to comfort Tommen during the Battle of Blackwater. The family's blond hair also gives them a vaguely leonine appearance.
    • The traditional Baratheon sigil, a black stag on a gold field, is associated with King Robert in the series. His successors each have their own version: Joffrey gives his mother's Lannister lion equal place with the stag, Stannis encases the stag within the fiery heart of the Lord of Light, and Renly incorporates his wife's (and lover's) colours to create a gold stag on a green field.
    • The Greyjoy sigil is a kraken and their strength is tied to the sea.
      Ramsay: Kraken. Mmm. Strong as long as they're in the sea. When you take them out of the water, no bones. They collapse under their proud weight and slump into a heap of nothing. You'd think they'd know that. Unfortunately, they're not very bright.
    • The Arryn sigil is a moon and falcon and their main fortress is called "The Eyrie" (lit. The Eagles' Nest).
    • The Tully sigil is the trout, a fitting sigil for a family that draws their strength from their rivers but is vulnerable to stronger factions. Their dead are given Viking Funerals, their Black Sheep calls himself the Blackfish, and they wear scale armour.
    • House Martell is a strange case since their sigil is actually a sun transfixed by a spear, as featured prominently in the set design of the Water Gardens, yet the opening credits' depiction of Sunspeare/Water Gardens give much more prominence to a snake coiling around a tower to highlight their connection to Oberyn and his branch of the family, who use a snake motif well-matched to their personalities and fighting styles: quick, unpredictable, and venomous.
    • The gyroscopic sun in the opening tells of the fall of the Targaryens in sigil metaphors: the stag (Baratheon), the direwolf (Stark), the dragon (Targaryen), and the lion (Lannister). The dragon rules Westeros but proceeds to go nuts, so the stag, lion, and wolf slay it, then the stag assumes the crown and the wolf and lion bow to it.
    • Varys is frequently referred to as the Spider, because he has a web of spies.
    • The Clegane sigil is three black dogs and the brothers are often compared to them. Sandor, better known as "the Hound", is a gruff but loyal guard who eventually gets tired of being kicked by his masters, and his older brother Ser Gregor is called "Tywin Lannister's mad dog" because he is ferocious but obedient to Tywin.
    • Littlefinger chose his own sigil: a humble mockingbird to maintain his harmless façade.
    • Ravens and crows are running motif and common in promotional artwork. Ravens are used to carry urgent messages, Brannote  frequently sees a three-eyed raven in his dreams, wildlings refer to men of the Night's Watch as crows because of their black uniforms, and the birds tend to swarm when White Walkers are on the prowl.
  • Animal Eye Spy:
    • An early symptom of Bran's ability to warg is when this begins happening in his dreams.
    • The wildlings make good use of wargs like Orell as scouts.
  • Annoying Arrows:
    • A crossbow bolt to the chest does little more than knock Yoren to his knees momentarily before he cuts down the shooter.
    "I never liked crossbows; take too long to load!"
  • Annoying Younger Sibling:
    • Arya throws food at Sansa during the feast in "Winter is Coming" and is mentioned in "Mhysa" to have made a habit of stuffing dung into her sister's pillow.
    • Tyrion confesses to childhood pranks like stealing clothes, putting goat shit in his uncle's boots, and milking his eel into a pot of stew "that I do believe my sister ate; at least I hope she did."
  • Answer Cut:
    • In "Oathkeeper", Littlefinger talks about his new allies and a friendship "growing strong", then we cut to Margaery and Olenna strolling the gardens.
    • In "Mockingbird", Tyrion asks who Cersei's champion will be, then we cut to Gregor Clegane using condemned prisoners are practice dummies for his morning sword practice.
    • When cautioned to hide his face because of an enormous bounty on him, Tyrion muses, "How many dwarfs are there? What's Cersei going to do, kill them all?" Cut to a dwarf's severed head being presented to Cersei.
  • Anti-Hero:
    • After all her losses and traumatizing experiences, Arya is learning to become more ruthless when dealing out death and judgement to those who have wronged her.
    • Daenerys seems to be sitting at about Pragmatic Anti-Hero at this point. As a whole, she has good morals but also a growing track record of treating her enemies with a brutality that would be hard to forgive if they weren't such colossal assholes. Depending on the viewer, this brutality can even push her into Nominal Hero territory.
    • Jaime, after revealing his heroic Hidden Depths with a few selfless deeds in Season 3, placing him somewhere between a Pragmatic Hero and an Unscrupulous Hero.
    • Varys may be interested in the greater good, but he can also be very unscrupulous and has a positively terrifying sense of vengeance.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • As long as you don't challenge his power, Khal Drogo is a Reasonable Authority Figure... in charge of a Barbarian Tribe that revels in Rape, Pillage, and Burn as well as slavery.
    • Jaime is a man who doesn't hesitate to kill for his own benefit but does possess some sympathetic traits like a Big Brother Instinct.
    • Mance Rayder leads a barbarian horde featuring some pretty reprehensible characters in an invasion of the Seven Kingdoms because he wants to save his people from the White Walkers and he knows the Night's Watch will never just let them through.
  • Anyone Can Die: The series has become a poster child for this trope. Not even characters who make it in the books are safe (see Death by Adaptation). Arya lampshades it when she declares, "Anyone can be killed," in Season 2 and "Valar Morghulis" ("All men must die") serves as Arc Words, an episode title, and the tagline for Season 4.
    • Season 1: Lady (Sansa's direwolf), Jory Cassel, Viserys Targaryen, Robert Baratheon, Ned Stark, Septa Mordane, Khal Drogo, and Mirri Maz Duur. The execution of Ned Stark is generally considered the true establishment of the trope with regards to this series, since the character and actor were promoted as the series' lead.
    • Season 2: Cressen, Rakharo, Yoren, Lommy, Renly Baratheon, Rodrik Cassel, Amory Lorch, Irri, Alton Lannister, the Spice King, Matthos Seaworth, Maester Luwin, Qhorin Halfhand, Pyat Pree, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, and Doreah.
    • Season 3: Craster, Jeor Mormont, Kraznys mo Nakloz, Willem and Martyn Lannister, Rickard Karstark, Ros, Orell, Robb Stark, Catelyn Stark, Talisa Stark, and Grey Wind (Robb's direwolf).
    • Season 4: Polliver, Joffrey Baratheon, Locke, Karl Tanner, Rast, Rorge, Biter, Lysa Arryn, Oberyn Martell, Pyp, Styr, Ygritte, Grenn, Jojen Reed, Shae, and Tywin Lannister.
    • Season 5: Mance Rayder, Mossador, Janos Slynt, Ser Barristan Selmy, Maester Aemon, the Lord of Bones, Shireen Baratheon, Hizdahr zo Loraq, Ser Meryn Trant, Selyse Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon, Myrcella Baratheon, Myranda, Jon Snow. Even more extreme, the last six names on this list all died in the same episode (the season finale).
    • An official promo from the 2013 San Diego Comic Con panel parodied this trope with a humourous "In Memorium" video for all the characters killed in the first three seasons.
    • The officially endorsed "Beautiful Death" fan art features artistic renderings of every named character's death and averages one release every three episodes.
  • Anything That Moves: Oberyn and Ellaria. They even like to share.
  • Apathetic Citizens:
    • Jaime mentions this trope concerning the Mad King's execution of Ned's father and brother.
      Jaime: Five hundred men just stood there and watched. All the great knights of the Seven Kingdoms, do you think anyone said a word, lifted a finger? No, Lord Stark. Five hundred men, and this room was silent as a crypt. Except for the screams, of course, and the Mad King laughing.
    • Loras is seized just after a spar, but neither his squire, nor his sparring partner, nor any of the nobles nearby attempt to intervene as a fellow nobleman is manhandled by commoners.
  • Apologetic Attacker:
    • Varys makes no attempt to disguise his distaste for his own actions while selling out Tyrion in "The Laws of Gods and Men".
    • Tyrion sobs that he is sorry after killing Shae.
    • In "The Dance of Dragons", Stannis asks Shireen to forgive him for what he's about to do.
  • Appeal to Force: A recurring theme of the series. Power may come from wealth, knowledge, gods, or law, but ultimately a swordsman decides whether the king, the priest, or the rich man live or die.
    • Aegon the Conqueror didn't seize the Seven Kingdoms because he had any right to them, he seized them because he could.
    • Renly decides to make a claim for the throne based on right of conquest like his big brother Robert.
      Stannis: You think a few bolts of cloth will make you king?
      Renly: No. The men holding those bolts of cloth will make me king.
    • Defied by Tommen when he balks at hacking his way through the Faith Militant just to talk to the High Sparrow.
  • Appeal to Tradition: This is Hizdahr's main explanation for the brutality of the fighting pits.
  • Appeal To Vanity: Davos convinces Salladhor to take service with Stannis this way.
    Davos: What I'm offering you is hard. Come with me and plunder the greatest city in Westeros. You'll be the richest man in Lys, and the most famous. They'll be singing songs about you as long as men have voices to sing.
  • The Apprentice:
    • When Lord Mormont appoints Jon as his personal steward, Sam remarks that Jon's proximity to the Lord Commander means he is likely being groomed for leadership and command.
    • Being that this is a medieval world, Gendry is introduced as a literal apprentice to the master armourer Tobho Mott.
  • Appropriated Appellation:
    • Tyrion recommends this to Jon Snow: "Let me give you some advice, bastard: never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." Tyrion himself is known by several derogatory nicknames, but "imp" has been used affectionately (by Bronn for instance) and "half-man" becomes a war cry in "Baelor" and "Blackwater".
    • Davos is an ex-smuggler knighted for smuggling food (including onions) to the starving garrison of Storm's End. Other nobles disparage him as "the Onion Knight," but Davos takes pride in the title and made his sigil a black ship with an onion on its sail.
      Stannis: "Some highborn fools call you 'Onion Knight' and think they insult you, so you take the onion for your sigil, sew it on your coat, fly the onion flag."
    • The Blackfish's name is derived from a snarky retort to his brother Hoster calling him a Black Sheep. Now he freely admits, "People have been calling me 'Blackfish' for so long they don't remember my real name." Indeed, his real name Brynden is only All There in the Manual.
    • Grey Worm was given his name by his masters to remind him that he was vermin, but he chooses to keep it even after Daenerys allows him to pick a new one. In his mind, his birth name belongs to a man cursed to slavery while Grey Worm is the name of a man who has been freed.
    • Inverted in "Kissed By Fire" when Jaime specifically rejects his sobriquet in his delirium:
      Brienne: Guards, help! The Kingslayer!
      Jaime: Jaime... my name is Jaime.
    • Discussed by the High Sparrow. He's aware the name is generally derogatory but takes it in stride, claiming there are far worse burdens to bear.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Janos Slynt insists there is no such thing as giants rather than face the fact two of them are currently battering at his gates.
  • Archer Archetype:
    • Theon demonstrates his archery skills several times, including putting an arrow through the chest of an outlaw and later shooting down the messenger ravens at the Twins. It's safe to say its the only thing he doesn't screw up in the show.
    • Joffrey is obsessed with his crossbow and actually shows impressive aim in "Dark Wings, Dark Words".
    • Anguy can angle a shot to come straight down on a target only a few feet in front of him.
    • Meera Reed wields a bow and knives instead of her trident from the books.
    • Ramsay is shown to be this in "Walk of Punishment", when he shoots all six of the guards about to rape Theon. His hunting partner Myranda is also shown to be very competent with a bow in "The Lion and the Rose".
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • The Starks and Lannisters begin the series barely able to share a room and it only gets worse. While initially driven by Ned's bitter opinion of their Sack of King's Landing and Jaime Lannister's Bodyguard Betrayal of King Aerys, it quickly becomes It's Personal when Joffrey has Ned executed on a whim.
    • The Night's Watch and the wildlings have raided and skirmished non-stop for so long that both have all but forgotten their true enemies, the White Walkers, who are just now returning.
    • Cersei considers her brother Tyrion as this and is second only to their father for Tyrion. This simmers throughout Seasons 2 and 3 before coming to the forefront in Season 4 when she is convinced he murdered her son and dedicates her life to seeing him humiliated and executed. Cersei also has a serious rivalry with her would-be daughter-in-law Margaery Tyrell whom Cersei sees as the manipulative social climber she is.
    • The Boltons were historically the Starks' chief rival for supremacy of the North but eventually bent the knee and were allowed to remain the second greatest house in the North. This ancient grudge is revived big time when Roose Bolton conspires to murder Robb Stark and usurp his titles.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Tywin to Tyrion. Tywin despises his son for "killing" his beloved wife in childbirth and being a whore-mongering dwarf, while Tyrion despises his father for treating him with contempt.
  • Arc Number:
    • Rule of Seven. Seven Kingdoms, seven gods, seven Kingsguard, seven hells, etc. Seven is also the projected number of books and the most frequently referenced number of seasons.
    • Rule of Three: Daenerys is the third-born, hatches three dragons, dispatches three scouts while Crossing the Desert, and conquers three cities.
  • Arc Villain:
    • Ser Alliser Thorne is a recurring arc villain to Jon Snow, most notably in Season 1 and Season 4.
    • Viserys for Daenerys' Dothraki arc, the Spice King for her Qarth arc, and Kraznys for her Astapor arc.
    • Theon becomes this for Season 2's Winterfell arc.
    • Locke for Jaime and Brienne's Season 3 odyssey. He gets transplanted as a secondary one to Karl Tanner in Season 4.
    • Karl Tanner for Craster's Keep arc, especially in Season 4.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Winter is coming."
    • "The night is dark and full of terrors."
    • "The dragons are dead/gone".
    • "What is dead may never die."
    • "A Lannister always pays his debts."
    • "Valar Morghulis" aka "All Men Must Die."
    • In Season 4 : "Wars are rather expensive."
  • An Arm and a Leg: In "Walk of Punishment", Jaime has his sword hand cut off.
  • Armor Is Useless: A running theme that is often Played Straight and Averted depending on the circumstances and fighting styles involved.
    • Discussed when Ser Jorah Mormont debates the merits of armor with Rakharo. Jorah argues that armor will make a slashing arakh useless, while Rakharo believes speed trumps protection. Jorah turns out to be right, as Qotho fatally discovers.
    • Downplayed when Ser Hugh is killed in a joust when he's struck in the neck by a splinter of Gregor Clegane's lance. In the books, it's explained he lacked a squire and so did not put on his gorget correctly; in the show he is clearly under-armored compared to his opponent and it's subtly implied the armor was sabotaged.
    • Reconstructed when Bronn champions Tyrion against Ser Vardis Egan. Bronn refuses a shield and wears almost no armor, using speed and maneuverability to simply evade his opponent until Egan's heavy armor exhausts him and makes him a sitting duck.
    • Zigzagged when Syrio Forel defeats several armored mooks with his wooden practice sword by knocking them on the helmets but fares less well against a slightly heavier-armed Ser Meryn Trant of the Kingsguard.
    • Discussed and Deconstructed when the Hound mercilessly gloats over Syrio Forel's defeat at the hands of the mediocre Meryn Trant because Trant wore heavy plate. He demonstrates by giving Arya a chance to skewer him with Needle, which completely fails to puncture his brigantine.
    • Played Straight jarringly when Ramsay easily kills several fully-equipped opponents described as "the best killers in the Iron Islands" while shirtless.
    • The duel in "The Mountain and the Viper" is a fascinating examination of this. One combatant wears light armor and no helmet to gain speed and maneuverability, while the other is a walking tank covered in plate and mail.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • Ned has no answer when Renly asks, "Do you still believe good soldiers make good kings?"
    • Varys strikes absolute terror into Ned by asking, "And what of your daughter's life, Lord Stark? Is that a precious thing to you?"
    • Talisa rattles Robb by asking, "And Then What?" of his plan to depose and execute Joffrey.
    • Theon delivers an epic one to his father when Balon calls him weak for growing up among the Starks.
      "You act as if I volunteered! You gave me away, if you remember?! The day you bent the knee to Robert Baratheon! After he crushed you! Did you 'take what was yours' then?"
    • Theon is on the receiving end later when Bran asks, "Did you hate us the whole time?" The most heartbreaking part is that Bran isn't angry or judgmental, he just wants to know. This hits Theon hard because he didn't and is now torn between loyalty to his birth family and adoptive family who raised him.
    • When Davos insists on being humble about his mistreatment by Blue Blood lordlings, Stannis asks, "And where were those lords when Storm's End starved?"
    • Quaithe's query to Jorah concerning Daenerys. "Will you betray her again?" is unsettling for coming from someone who had no way of knowing he had.
    • When Jon angrily points out he and his family are of the same blood as the wildlings and have just as much claim to the North, Ygritte asks, "Then why are you fightin' us?" for which Jon has no answer. Apparently the wildlings' frequent Rape, Pillage, and Burn and overall intent to overrun his homeland with primitive anarchists doesn't occur to Jon.
    • Jaime devastates Brienne with one in "Kissed By Fire":
      "Tell me, if your precious Renly commanded you to kill your own father and stand by while thousands of men, women, and children burned alive, would you have done it? Would you have kept your oath then?!"
    • Brienne looks like a deer in the headlights when Cersei asks her directly if she loves Jaime in "The Lion and the Rose".
    • When Jaime is balking at seeing Tyrion, Bronn says, "He named you as his champion because he knew you'd ride night and day to come fight for him. Are you going to fight for him now?"
    • Hizdahr zo Loraq confronts Daenerys about her execution of the masters with the question, "Is it justice to answer one crime with another?"
    • When Tyrion tries appealing to The Power of Friendship to talk Bronn into fighting for him, Bronn replies, "Aye, I'm your friend. And when have you ever risked your life for me?"
    • Jorah cannot bring himself to answer when Daenerys demands to know, "Did you tell them I was carrying Drogo's child?"
    • Ralf Kenning unintentionally hits the nail on the head when demands of Reek, "Are you a woman, boy?"
    • Shireen's question, "Are you ashamed of me, Father?" prompts the most heartfelt monologue Stannis has ever delivered.
    • Jaime has no answer when Bronn asks if his lover shares his desire to die in each other's arms.
    • In "The Dance of Dragons", Dany has no answer when Hizdahr asks whether she thinks the pit fighters (who are ostensibly free men) have no ability to know their own minds and make their own judgements about what they're willing to die for. Tyrion interjects with a Shut Up, Hannibal!, but doesn't actually say he disagrees.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap:
    • When Viserys gets violent with Daenerys in "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things", she slaps him across the face with a medallion belt, which leaves him speechless.
    • Balon's response to his son's Ironic Echo is a backhand that sends him halfway across the room.
  • Army of the Dead: The White Walkers are amassing a massive one beyond the Wall and send one against the Fist of the First Men in "Valar Morghulis".
  • Army of Thieves and Whores:
    • In recent centuries few men have joined the Night's Watch voluntarily, leaving it to be increasingly staffed by outcasts, outlaws, and luckless lords who fought for a losing side.
    • The men of the Brotherhood Without Banners proudly proclaim that some of them were once swineherds, but now they all fight for the people.
  • Arranged Marriage: These are a common political tool among the nobility of Westeros. Some are happy, such as Ned and Catelyn, and some are not, such as Robert and Cersei. Many are against the will of one or both parties, such as Daenerys and Drogo or Tyrion and Sansa. The political consequences of breaking such a marriage pact, as Robb does in "Valar Morghulis", make this Serious Business.
  • Arrested for Heroism: In the early days of TV Tropes, this trope might have been called "The Davos."
    • Davos' smuggling of supplies into Storm's End won him Stannis' lifelong respect and patronage, but unfortunately Stannis does not consider rewarding heroism and punishing crime to be mutually exclusive. So Davos was knighted for his heroism and lost four fingertips for his previous smuggling. This actually increases Davos' respect for Stannis.
    • After managing to find his way back to Dragonstone after the battle, Davos immediately calls Stannis and Melisandre out for their moping and burning dissenters, and eventually pulls a knife on Melisandre. Stannis reacts by throwing him in a dungeon.
    • Soon after his release from the previous arrest, Davos gets rearrested for freeing a prisoner to prevent another Human Sacrifice, and only narrowly avoids execution by convincing Stannis that he's too valuable a counselor for the war to come.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy:
    • Jaime Lannister's prodigious swordsmanship makes him one of the most self-assured men in the Seven Kingdoms. The loss of his sword hand puts a dead stop to this.
    • Loras Tyrell is one of the best in the realm and knows it, lamenting in "Kissed By Fire" that there are no worthy opponents for him to spar with in King's Landing.
  • Arrows on Fire: The Big Badass Battle Sequence episodes "Blackwater" and "The Watchers on the Wall" share a director with a penchant for this.
    • Tyrion gives the specific order, "Rain fire on them" when Stannis lands his forces under the walls in "Blackwater" for no reason beyond the Rule of Perception, since undetectable arrows would be both more effective and more terrifying.
    • Even more than the previous battle episode, "The Watchers on the Wall" features tons of this trope for the Rule of Perception, including several times when arrows take fire without any sign of even being lit.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Bells always ring for horrors like a dead king, a city under siege, or a wedding.
  • Artifact Alias: Grey Worm remains Grey Worm even when allowed to choose his own name.
  • Artifact Title:
    • In-Universe, the "Seven Kingdoms" is a reference to the political composition of Westeros before Aegon became the Conqueror (The Riverlands were ruled by the Ironborn, and the Crownlands didn't exist). Following Aegon's conquest, the name remained, but there was really only one kingdom, divided into nine regions.
    • The Histories and Lore segments reveal that the Iron Bank originally stored its assets in an abandoned iron mine. The bank has subsequently branched out massively, but the original mine remains one of its reserve deposits.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • We're told the Targaryens often practiced Brother-Sister Incest to keep their bloodline pure over their 300-year reign, with implications they'd been doing it prior to the Conquest as well. In reality, severe mental and physical debilitation would result (Charles II of Spain is a good historical example), but the Targaryens seem flawless except for occasional madness. It's worth noting that the amount of incest is frequently exaggerated and it's heavily implied that there's more than a little magic in their bloodline.
    • Without testicles secreting testosterone, the muscular development shown by some Unsullied borders on unnatural.
    • The many foramina in the human skull would make it very impractical to use as a container for wine the way Karl does in "Oathkeeper".
    • Considering how long it would take to travel from Craster's Keep into the Lands of Always Winter, the baby in "Oathkeeper" should be long dead of exposure and starvation.
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Dagmer and Theon exchange a look that screams this trope after Theon's Eureka Moment in Season 2.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Ros, a Canon Foreigner, was originally intended only for Tyrion's introduction, but the producers liked the actress enough to expand her character into The Watson for most of Season 1's Sexposition and eventually a recurring supporting character. Then they stuffed her into the fridge.
    • Robb Stark gets quite a bit more screen time than page time by having his Season 2 arc expanded and shown first hand because of the producers' liking for the actor and the character's Ensemble Darkhorse status in the books.
    • Shae's scenes in the book consist almost entirely of her liaisons with Tyrion, while in the show she serves as a Cool Big Sister to Sansa, giving her chances to interact with other characters such as Cersei and Ros.
    • Margaery is the main recipient of House Tyrell's greater role in the show. For instance, her role in A Clash of Kings (corresponding to Season 2) consists of being present at Renly's side when Catelyn arrives at Bitterbridge. That's it.
    • Craster appears in only two chapters of the books. The show expands what he does with his sons into a minor arc.
    • In the books, Orell is killed by Jon during the skirmish where he meets Ygritte, but the show expands him into Jon's main antagonist during Season 3.
    • The captive squires Willem and Martyn Lannister (along with Tion Frey) are just mentioned in the novels, but get a couple of scenes in Season 3. One of these actors, Dean-Charles Chapman, was later recast as Tommen Baratheon as well.
    • After being created for one scene in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", the writers expanded Myranda's role as Ramsay's paramour in later seasons.
    • Rickon quite possibly gets more screen-time in "The Rains of Castamere" than in all his previous appearances put together.
    • Tommen and Myrcella Baratheon are little more than placeholders until Seasons 4 and 5 respectively.
  • Ascended Fanboy: In-Universe.
    • Alton Lannister is a huge fan of his distant cousin Jaime, stating that the day he squired for Jaime was the best day of his life. Jaime in turn talks of how he is an ascended fanboy of Barristan Selmy.
    • In one of the Histories and Lore featurettes, Bran talks about his love for Old Nan's scary stories, and how he's now in one.
    • Brienne's one request from King Renly is to join his Kingsguard and keep him safe from all harm. Later, it is revealed she has a pretty big crush on him.
  • Ascended Fanon: "Warging" was originally just a fan term, but Bran uses it in-universe in "Dark Wings, Dark Words".
  • Ascended Meme: An in-universe example is the Lannisters' catchphrase, "A Lannister always pays his debts," which is used so frequently that Bran mistakes it (possibly facetiously) for their official motto (which is actually "Hear Me Roar").
  • Asexuality:
    • Varys claims to have been asexual even before his castration, which is understandable since he was only a child at the time. He certainly has no interest at present, claiming he abhors desire because it was lust for power that led to the war, although this may be just his personal rationalization after the fact.
    • Joffrey is a markedly asexual character for a show that oozes sex. He has a habit of steering conversation away from the topic or discussing it quite clinically, derives mundane enjoyment rather than sexual pleasure from sadism even in highly sexualized situations, and even his threats to invoke Droit du Seigneur seem motivated by sadism more than desire.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Ser Hugh dies painfully in a joust with Gregor Clegane shortly after haughtily dismissing Jory because he isn't a knight despite being only a squire himself until recently.
    • The obnoxious singer Marillion gets his tongue cut out for mocking the late king in a song in the royal capital.
    • The first two names Arya gives to Jaqen H'ghar both belong to these sort of men.
    • It's hard to muster any sympathy for Rickard Karstark as he is executed for murdering two unarmed boys.
    • After the heinous Red Wedding, Arya and the Hound happen on four soldiers reveling about it. Their rude behaviour to Arya when she approaches them doesn't help their case.
    • Joffrey spends his final episode putting his Jerkassery on full display.
    • After all his crimes and in the midst of a plot to murder a child, Locke's death is rather gratifying.
    • No tears were shed for Lysa Arryn after her numerous instances of insanity.
    • We get to see the madam of the Mole's Town brothel mistreating Gilly so we don't feel bad when she's murdered by Ygritte.
    • This was a common reaction to the murder of Shae after she is found in Tywin's bed following her betrayal of Tyrion.
    • Tywin definitely had it coming.
    • If there was ever a man who deserved to be executed for arrogant insubordination, it's the cowardly, two-faced Janos Slynt.
    • Arya's first target from the Faceless Men is a dishonest insurance broker who bankrupted a widow and her children.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority:
    • Robert Baratheon won the Iron Throne this way, but proves to be a very ineffectual ruler who hates the job.
    • Each Dothraki khalasar is led by its most badass warrior. Leadership can pass from father to son (Drogo's father Bharbo was khal before him), but it is not an inherited title and each khal must fight constantly to defeat his rivals and appease his supporters with victory.
    • Wildlings value charisma, bravery, and martial skill far above lineage and rank. Becoming a chieftain and especially a King-Beyond-the-Wall like Mance Rayder means persuading or defeating every other contender, one way or another.
    • Even in the Seven Kingdoms where people do respect birth and rank, Jaime Lannister fears what will happen to his authority if people realize he can barely wipe his own ass anymore.
    • Since the Unsullied are said to know nothing but combat, it's implied they would only elect their best fighter as leader, and Grey Worm certainly proves his prowess.
    • Jon Snow is elected Lord Commander of the Night's Watch for his fighting prowess and leadership rather than his seniority.
    • Nobody has a problem with Tormund bludgeoning the Lord of Bones to death since the Free Folk bow to strength.
  • Ass Shove:
    • It's ambiguous whether Brienne's vindictive stabbing of a rapist in "Valar Morghulis" is this or Groin Attack.
    • Ellaria threatens the immense Aero Hotah with one in "The House of Black and White."
  • As You Know:
    • Since it is introducing an entire Constructed World, the pilot episode "Winter is Coming" has quite a few, but most are tastefully subtle.
      • Jaime begins his first conversation with Cersei by mentioning he is her brother for the benefit of the audience. Then there's Arya's obviously dubbed Info Drop of the same information, which even the writers mock in their DVD Commentary. The unaired pilot apparently left this info All There in the Script, so during rewrites the writers went Up to Eleven to making sure the audience understood the full significance of Cersei and Jaime having sex.
      • Tyrion and Ros playful discuss Tyrion's reputation and place in the Lannister family in the third-person.
      • Tyrion spells out Jon's place in the Stark family to Jon himself, framed as firmly reminding him no one will ever forget he's a bastard, so he should just accept it.
      • Daenerys and Viserys pepper their conversations with expository phrases like, "We've been his guests for over a year," and "I've waited seventeen years to get my throne back."
    • In "The Kingsroad", Tyrion and Jaime both deliver exposition about the Wall and the Night's Watch that doubles as a subtle warning about what Jon's getting himself into.
    • Lampshaded with the reveal about Varys: "Did you know Lord Varys is a eunuch?" "Everyone knows that." This actually fits right in with Pycelle's ponderous senility act.
    • Tyrion describes the Greyjoy Rebellion and why Theon is the Starks' ward to Theon himself. Maester Luwin is also fond of doing this. Of course, in both cases, they're reminding Theon that he's not as awesome, important, or even welcome as he thinks.
    • Littlefinger feels the need to point out that Catelyn's family sigil is a fish to her husband Ned in "A Golden Crown".
    • In "Garden of Bones", Stannis recounts the reason he knighted Davos to Davos himself as an explanation of his esteem.
    • Theon lampshades the hell out of it when Maester Luwin explains siege tactics for the audience.
      "Thank you, O Wise Bald One! Thank you for explaining siege tactics to me."
    • In "The Climb", Tywin tells Olenna, "I'm sure you're familiar with the Kingsguard's vows," but proceeds to list them anyway.
    • Oberyn tells Tyrion the well-known story of his sister's demise, which is justified as confronting Tyrion's attempts to avoid the uncomfortable subject.
    • Lysa Arryn recounts to Littlefinger all the evil deeds she's committed for him, including an important reveal. The viewer is the only one who didn't already know this.
    • Obara Sand delivers a blatant Origin Story Info Dump... to her half-sisters and step-mother who already know it.
  • The Atoner:
    • Jaime is trying his best to reform by saving Brienne, sending her to protect the Stark girls to fulfill his vow, saving Tyrion from execution, and once again aspiring to be a dutiful Kingsguard no matter how soiled his reputation. Later, he insists on going on a dangerous mission himself due to his guilt over releasing his brother, who went on to kill their father.
    • Barristan swears himself to Daenerys to atone for failing her elder brother Rhaegar and accepting King Robert's pardon.
    • Upon his reintroduction in "The Wars to Come", Lancel Lannister has become very pious and joined a mendicant movement to repent for his past sins.
  • Attempted Rape:
    • Sansa suffers this repeatedly. First, she is almost gang-raped by rioters in "The Old Gods and the New", then threatened with Droit du Seigneur in "Seconds Sons". She finally succumbs to Marital Rape License in "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.
    • Theon is nearly raped by his pursuers in the woods but is saved by a well-timed arrow to the chest of his would-be rapist.
    • Brienne is taken off to be raped by Locke and his men, but Jaime manages to stop them with the promise of a ransom.
    • Gilly is saved from rape by the timely intervention of Samwell and Ghost.
  • At the Crossroads:
    • The inn where Tyrion and Catelyn collide in "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things" is actually called the "Inn At the Crossroads" in the novels since it sits at the main crossroads of the realm's northern half.
    • In "Mockingbird", Brienne and Pod debate the fork in the road leading either north to the North or east to the Vale.
  • Audible Sharpness: Generally an Enforced Trope. However, when Will is apprehended in "Winter is Coming", there is a faint metallic scraping that might be coming from a couple of spears simply being pointed at him. This trope is also invoked with wooden practice swords in "Lord Snow" to demonstrate Ned flashing back to the wars he's fought in and imagining his daughter in combat.
  • Audience Surrogate: Gendry has the same reaction to Arya's Wasteful Wishing as many viewers.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: There are many examples of men in power due to their birth who are (or were) still fearsome fighters. Tyrion even justifies this by noting that the social elite get much better equipment and lifelong training.
    • Ned chooses to be modest about it, but he can match the prodigious Jaime Lannister, and even Living Legend Barristan Selmy speaks highly of him.
    • Jon discovers that, as the son of a lord, he can easily outmatch his lowborn fellow recruits because they barely know which end of a sword to hold.
    • Stannis personally leads his army's assault in "Blackwater" and fights like a One-Man Army.
    • Greatjon Umber initially doubts that Robb has this trait, but becomes one of his staunchest supporters after Robb proves his mettle and is the first to acclaim him king.
  • Authority in Name Only:
    • Joffrey might sit the Iron Throne, but it's obvious to everyone, even Joffrey, that Lord Tywin is the real power in the realm.
    • Littlefinger's lordship of Harrenhal is almost meaningless while the Starks still occupy the Riverlands, but even the nominal authority over a great castle is a step up for a man from the very lowest of nobility. In Season 4, it makes him a worthy suitor for Lysa Arryn, through whom he gains control of the Vale.
  • Automaton Horses:
    • Averted when Gregor's ill-tempered stallion is Distracted by the Sexy when Loras rides an in-heat mare in their joust.
    • Averted by Daenerys' white mare, who dies of exhaustion during their crossing of the Red Waste.
    • Olenna's late husband apparently died because he didn't notice his horse wandering off a cliff, which is either this trope or evidence of a horse committing suicide.
    • Bronn describes Dornish sand steeds in these terms, which could easily be hyperbole for their great endurance.
    • In a meta aversion, the realities of dealing with horses means they are frequently Adapted Out in comparison to the novels.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Khal Drogo really didn't care all that much about Westeros, until Robert tried to have Daenerys assassinated. Then he becomes hell-bent on vengeance.
  • Awesome but Impractical:
    • Aegon the Conqueror deliberately made the Iron Throne both awe-inspiring and uncomfortable, believing that a king should look impressive but never sit easy or grow complacent.
    • Harrenhal is the greatest fortress in the Seven Kingdoms. It's also a logistical nightmare, practically impossible to man and govern properly, which is why the Lannister troops abandon it, rather than defend it, when the Northern army arrives.
    • Wildfire's awesome destructive power is match only by the danger of handling it in a combat situation. Tyrion brings its full power to bear by laying a trap with it that eliminates the problem of misfiring catapults and fumbling handlers.
    • Jaime lampshades this with his golden hand. Despite its impressive appearance, a hook would serve him better.
    • The Braavosi fencing style of water dancing is considered this by the Hound, and he has a point since it is flashy and impressive but nearly useless against heavily-armoured opponents.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Roughly half-and-half. For every Ned, Robert, Jon, Sam, or Jaime there's a Daenerys, Tyrion, Theon, Salladhor, or Daario.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning:
    • We get two in "Fire and Blood", with Robb being acclaimed king by his lords and Daenerys proclaiming herself queen.
    • "The House of Black and White" has another when Jon literally becomes "Lord Snow".
  • Awful Wedded Life:
    • Robert and Cersei are mutually hateful and abusive.
    • Tyrion and Sansa have no love for each other after being forced to marry, but manage a quasi-friendship that is shattered forever when Sansa learns the Lannisters murdered her mother and brother.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Joffrey is a sadistic sociopath with little regard for human life, but he's also a Dirty Coward so he prefers to use a crossbow on helpless victims.
    • Ramsay is a vicious Serial Killer whose favourite hobbies are Flaying Alive and Hunting the Most Dangerous Game.
    • Gregor Clegane lives and breathes this trope, from burning off half his little brother's face as a child to massacring anyone he can get his hands on. He and his band of fellow Sociopathic Soldiers are the Lannisters' go-to men for Rape, Pillage, and Burn during the war.
    • Mad King Aerys was so ax crazy that it brought about the downfall of his dynasty, at which point he plotted to incinerate King's Landing out of spite.
    • Biter proves the truth of his name when he attacks the Hound with just his teeth.
  • An Axe to Grind:
    • Shagga son of Dolf is mentioned to have insisted on having two battle-axes prior to the Battle of the Green Fork.
    • Loras wields an axe during his melee with Brienne.
    • Tyrion uses a double-bladed axe to compensate for his stature during the Battle of Blackwater.
    • Yara's choice of weapon in "The Laws of Gods and Men" is a pair of tomahawks, though she usually wields a bow.
    • Thenns seem to prefer massive, two-handed axes. Notable examples include Styr in Season 4 and Loboda in "Hardhome".

    B 
  • Back for the Dead: Polliver, Rorge, Biter, and the Lord of Bones all reappear solely to be killed.
  • Back from the Brink: After a crushing defeat that leaves him low on men, materiel, money, and suffering from depression, Stannis returns in fine form at the end of Season 4, thanks to a loan from the Iron Bank and a rousing victory that gives his forces a much-needed morale boost and a new base to renew his campaign for the throne.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • The wights.
    • Lord Beric is resurrected within moments of being killed and later mentions that it's the sixth time.
  • Backhanded Compliment: When Hizdahr waxes philosophical about traditions that will go on long after they are all gone, Tyrion declares, "My father would have liked you."
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: A three-way version with Jorah, Daario, and Grey Worm in Yunkai. Jorah and Daario even get in a Combination Attack on Daario's final enemy.
  • Badass Adorable: Arya, particularly in Season 1.
  • Badass and Child Duo: Arya and the Hound, though Arya is far from helpless. Hostile at first, they stick together because he wants a ransom and she has no better plan of her own but they eventually begin to grudgingly respect each other.
  • Badass Army: The Unsullied are considered the finest soldiers in the world. They are trained The Spartan Way Up to Eleven from childhood and conditioned to be robotically loyal and immune to fear and pain. The Histories and Lore segment concerning them explains that 3,000 of them once defeated 50,000 Dothraki in the open field to save the Free City of Qohor, though only 600 survived.
  • Badass Baritone:
    • Tywin Lannister thanks to the magnificent voice of Charles Dance.
    • Roose Bolton has a deep, smooth, dispassionate voice.
  • Badass Beard: Pretty much every adult male character at one point or another, in one form or another.
  • Badass Boast: Tons.
    • The words of most noble houses are one, such as House Baratheon's "Ours is the Fury," House Greyjoy's "We Do Not Sow," and House Martell's "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken." One exception is the Starks' "Winter is Coming," but Robb manages to make it one when he declares winter is coming for Tywin Lannister. Even the Tyrell's "Growing Strong" is one, regardless of Olenna's snarking: while other factions suffer from war and weather, the Tyrells and the Reach steadily grow in food, wealth, and strength.
    • Ned declares that even if the Dothraki do cross the Narrow Sea, he and Robert will simply toss them back into the sea.
    • Daenerys puts Viserys in his place by declaring, "I am a khaleesi of the Dothraki. I am the wife of the Great Khal and I carry his son inside me. The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands!"
    • On first seeing the Eyrie and hearing that it's supposed to be impregnable, Bronn offhandedly says "Give me ten good men and some climbing spikes, I'll impregnate the bitch".
    • Tyrion delivers one on behalf of his brother in "The Wolf and the Lion".
    Lysa: These men are knights of the Vale. Every one of them loved Jon Arryn, every one of them would die for me.
    Tyrion: If any harm comes to me, my brother Jaime will see that they do.
    • Arya delivers one to a pair of gold cloaks twice her size: "My father is Hand of the King. I'm not a boy, I'm Arya Stark of Winterfell, and if you lay a hand on me my father will have both your heads on spikes. Now, are you going to let me by or do I have to smack you on the ear to help with your hearing?"
    • Khal Drogo gives an entire Rousing Speech composed of this:
      "I will take my khalasar west to where the world ends and ride the wooden horses across the black salt water as no khal has done before! I will kill the men in iron suits and tear down their stone houses! I will rape their women, take their children as slaves, and bring their broken gods back to Vaes Dothrak."
    • When insulted by several guardsmen while armed with only a wooden sword, Syrio Forel declares, "I am Syrio Forel, and you will be speaking to me with more respect." Soon after he declares his You Shall Not Pass intent with one: "The First Sword of Braavos does not run."
    • Greatjon Umber is made of these. His very first line is, "For thirty years I've been making corpses out of men, boy! I'm the man you want leading the vanguard," soon followed by, "The bloody Wall will melt before an Umber marches behind a Glover!"
    • Even after discarding most of his armour, Barristan Selmy tells the Kingsguard that, "Even now I could cut through the five of you like carving a cake!" and everyone takes him seriously.
    • When told the Crapsack World is due to men like him, Jaime declares, "There are no men like me. Only me."
    • Gendry puts a stop to Hot Pie's bullying by declaring, "You know, I've been hammering an anvil these past ten years. When I hit that steel it sings. You gonna sing when I hit you?"
    • Daenerys gets a couple in "Fire and Blood". When Mirri declares she will not hear her scream, Daenerys replies, "I will, but it's not your screams I want. Only your life." Later, during her Rousing Speech, she declares, "I am Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen of the blood of Old Valyria. I am the Dragon's daughter, and I swear to you that those who would harm you will die screaming."
    • When urged to seek shelter south of the Wall because the cold winds are rising, Craster declares, "Let them come. My roots are sunk deep."
    • When Littlefinger mocks Cersei's Twincest with the claim, "Knowledge is power," Cersei demonstrates how her guards would kill him without question and replies, "Power is power."
    • Melisandre, unharmed after deliberately drinking poison, declares, "The night is dark and full of terrors, old man. But the fire burns them all away."
    • In response to being called a "boy" by Jaime, Robb declares, " You insult yourself, Kingslayer. You've been defeated by a boy, held captive by a boy, and maybe you'll be killed by a boy." Que an intimidating snap from his enormous direwolf.
    • On being told he will be thrown into the sea the next time he makes a threat, Varys replies, "You might be disappointed with the result. The storms come and go, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling."
    • "The Prince of Winterfell" features one from Tyrion to Cersei: "I will hurt you for this. A day will come when you think you're safe and happy, and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth, and you will know the debt is paid."
    • When Catelyn tries to dissuade Rickard Karstark from demanding the head of a prisoner who killed his son with the advice that wise men do not make demands of kings, he declares that father's who loved their sons do.
    • Robb: "If she accepts these terms I'll give her peace; if not, I will litter the south with Lannister dead."
    • The Hound pairs this with Enemy Eats Your Lunch during his tense conversation with Polliver:
      Hound: I understand that if any more words come pouring out of your cunt mouth, I'm going to have to eat every fucking chicken in this room.
      Polliver: You lived your life for the king; you gonna die for some chickens?
      The Hound: Someone is...
    • Grand Maester Pycelle of all people gets one in the Histories and Lore for Season 4 when discussing the possibility of a second attempt to conquer Westeros with dragons.
      "If [Daenerys] were so foolish as to march on Westeros, she would not find (as her ancestor Aegon did) seven disparate kingdoms frightened by her strange beasts. She would find a continent united by Lord Tywin Lannister, who extinguished her own father's flame. And we have known dragons now. We have seen them die."
    • Black Lorren's declaration to Theon that, "I've been reaving and raping since before you left Balon's balls, Captain."
    • Mance Rayder's declaration that, "I'm going to light the biggest fire the North has ever seen!"
    • Beric Dondarrion's mission statement: "That's what we are: ghosts, waiting for you in the dark. You can't see us, but we see you. No matter whose cloak you wear—Lannister, Stark, Baratheon—you prey on the weak, the Brotherhood Without Banners will hunt you down."
    • Oberyn Martell marks his arrival in the capital by declaring to Tyrion, "Tell your father I'm here, and tell him the Lannisters aren't the only ones who pay their debts."
    • Stannis' declaration, "I will not become a page in someone else's history book," qualifies even if he utters it in frustration at being unable to back it up.
    • Barristan is completely serious when he mentions he's "won more single-combats than any man alive."
    • Ser Alliser Thorne gives on in "The Watchers on the Wall": "Tonight we fight! And when the sun rise, I promise you, Castle Black will stand! The Night's Watch will stand!"
    • Sam Tarly produces a very casual one when Gilly asks why he's not training: "How many brothers can say that they've killed a White Walker and a Thenn? I might be the first in history." Later, in "The Gift", he gives it again: "I killed a White Walker. I killed a Thenn. I'll take my chances with you."
    • In "High Sparrow", Littlefinger declares that the last time the Vale and the North fought together they brought down the greatest dynasty in the history of Westeros.note 
    • Cersei's declaration that, "House Lannister has no rival," definitely sounds badass, even if she is the only one who believes it.
  • Badass Bookworm:
    • Tyrion specifically compares his mind to a sword, but is still able to kill men with kite shield and battle axe.
    • Samwell, whose only knowledge of the world comes from books, becomes the first person in thousands of years to kill a White Walker.
    • Oberyn is one the most skilled warrior in the realm, but is also mentioned to have studied at the Citadel, where maesters are trained.
  • Badass Bureaucrat:
    • Tyrion during his stints as acting Hand of the King and Master of Coin.
    • For all his faults, and perhaps because of some of them, Tywin is a true genius with political intrigue and public administration.
    • The Braavosi banker Tycho Nestoris is played by Mark Gatiss of Sherlock fame for a reason.
  • Badass Bystander: Hobb, a background extra who gets passing mention as Castle Black's cook, gets a scene fighting off wilding raiders with kitchen utensils during the siege of Castle Black.
  • Badass Cape:
    • The Kingsguard are identified by their voluminous white cloaks. In the case of Sandor Clegane, the fact he is wearing such a cloak in "Fire and Blood" is the only way to know he's been raised to the Kingsguard (without accepting knighthood, no less).
    • Members of the City Watch of King's Landing are known colloquially as "gold cloaks" because of their conspicuous gold cloaks.
    • Climatic conditions allow characters from the North to wear magnificent fur cloaks on most occasions, outside of battle.
    • Defied by Bronn, who insists a cape slows you down in a fight.
  • Badass Creed:
    • The Night's Watch oath:
      "Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come."
    • And the customary eulogy for a black brother?
      "And now his watch is ended."
    • The ironborn express their faith in the Drowned God with the refrain, "What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger."
  • Badass Decay: Happens a lot In-Universe as part of the overall Crapsack World.
    • The Night's Watch was once a highly regarded Order and a veritable army that safeguarded the northern border of the realm. It has now dwindled to a token militia of less than a thousand men, mostly convicted thieves and rapists, who are severely under-equipped and can barely afford to maintain three of their nineteen castles.
    • The Kingsguard was once admired as the finest examples of chivalry and combat skill in the realm. Now they are mostly comprised of mediocre fighters and unchivalrous brutes.
    • Invoked and discussed in-universe by Robert Baratheon, who was a mighty warrior in his youth but by the beginning of the series is living on past glories, too fat for his armour, and spends his days feasting and drinking.
    • Jaime goes through this in-universe as he is captured, out-fought, and finally crippled, losing all of his prodigious skill as a swordsman. By Season 4, even the majority of his family regard him as a has-been.
    • Invoked by Littlefinger regarding the Lannisters; with Tywin and the sheer power of his will gone, all that remains is one-handed Jaime, weak-willed Tommen, and dowager queen Cersei.
  • Badass Family: The Lannisters, Starks, Baratheons, and Targaryens all aspire to embody this trope, in various flavors and with various levels of success. The Cleganes, Umbers, and Mormonts seem to produce nothing but badasses.
  • Badass Gay:
    • While Loras' homosexuality earns him plenty of disapproval and even abhorrence, nobody doubts his skill and courage as a warrior.
    • Oberyn is a Badass Bisexual whose tendency to bed men as well as women doesn't stop Tyrion from worrying about "the Red Viper" leaving a trail of destruction when he shows up in King's Landing.
  • Badass Grandpa:
    • Ser Rodrik Cassel shrugs off a sword wound and defeats men half his age.
    • Ser Barristan Selmy is past sixty and white-haired, but still considered one of the finest knights in the realm.
    • Lord Commander Jeor Mormont of the Night's Watch.
    • Tywin Lannister is practically the only man in the kingdom who can intimidate his grandson King Joffrey.
    • Rickard Karstark has reached his elderly years, but it hasn't stopped him from kicking ass in the War of Five Kings.
    • Whatever else he is, Craster's badassery is evidenced by In-Universe Memetic Badass Qhorin Halfhand suggesting there's no shame in being beaten by such a "tough old goat" and his ability to hold his keep by himself in a culture where taking from others is a way of life.
  • Badass In Charge: More often than not.
  • Badass in Distress:
  • Badass Mustache: Oberyn has one.
  • Badass Preacher: Thoros of Myr mixes combat with spreading the good news about the Lord of Light.
  • Badass Princess: Daenerys slowly becomes this over Season 1.
  • Badass Longcoat: Jaime pulls this off with a duster practically whenever he's not wearing his armor or in captivity.
  • Bad Bad Acting:
    • In "Valar Morghulis", the Lannisters and Tyrells enact a scene for the court that screams of being rehearsed, from the stilted dialogue to Joffrey anticipating Cersei's next line. Margaery participates enthusiastically, but Loras' body language oozes contempt and he even messes up one of his lines with a Freudian Slip that Renly belonged to him as much as his sister.
    • Also, Grenn when he fakes being beaten by Sam in the training yard.
  • Bad Boss:
    • Ramsay ambushes his own men to further a Good Cop/Bad Cop illusion he himself breaks in the very next episode, meaning he essentially killed five of his own men For the Evulz.
    • Littlefinger occasionally shows his true colours to his sex workers.
  • Bad Future: Dany gets a glimpse of this in the House of the Undying. The Red Keep is in ruins, winter has come (and hasn't left for a long time), everyone's dead, and snow sits on the Iron Throne.
  • Bad Liar: Hot Pie.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Thoros of Myr is affable, polite, and generally a good man, but his primary ability is necromancy.
  • Bait and Switch:
    • Tyrion's description of the Wall in "The Night Lands":
      "I found it surprisingly beautiful... in a brutal, horribly uncomfortable sort of way."
    • Tyrion's confession in "The Laws of Gods and Men" quickly shifts into an angry "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
    • In "High Sparrow" it initially seems Jon might put Alliser Thorne in charge of the latrines, but instead that job goes to a random steward and Thorne is named First Ranger.
    • Alliser Thorne initially moves to interfere in Janos' execution but then steps aside.
    • Jon is taken aback and pauses when Janos Slynt begs for mercy, then carries out the sentence anyway.
    • In "Kill the Boy", Ramsay subverts the expectations of both Reek and the audience by saying, "I forgive you."
    • Clingy Jealous Girl Myranda baits Sansa into the back of the kennels in what seems like an obvious trap to Murder the Hypotenuse, but it turns out to be a face-to-face encounter with Reek.
    • Near the end of "Kill the Boy", Tyrion is pulled deeper into the water by a stone man as the screen Fades To Black as if to create a cliffhanger to the episode. After a long pause, we fade back in for a final scene as Tyrion regains consciousness after being rescued.
    • In "The Gift", Reek is sent to give a signal to Sansa's supporters outside Winterfell. Unfortunately, he obediently reports to Ramsay instead.
    • Tyrion's attempt to break his chains is interrupted by someone looming over him, but rather than a guard it's another pit fighter who obligingly breaks the chains with his arakh.
    • When Jon returns to the Wall with thousands of wildling refugees in "The Dance of Dragons", known wildling-hater Alliser Thorne looks down on them with contempt for several moments before ordering the gate opened.
    • Hizdahr arrives a bit late to the dais in "The Dance of Dragons" and says something very suspicious about ensuring everything goes according to plan, but his subsequent actions soon prove he had no involvement in the subsequent ambush.
    • Arya is about to carry out her first assassination for the Faceless Men when her attention is diverted to one of the men on her personal hit list.
  • Bait the Dog:
    • Viserys' more sympathetic and tragic side is shown briefly during the bath scene with Doreah, in which he waxes nostalgic about the family and heritage that were stolen from him. Unfortunately, Doreah inadvertently asks the wrong question and Viserys reverts to his usual snide cruelty.
    • After saving Arya from the Mountain, employing her as his cupbearer, and generally making the audience smile at their semi-friendly interactions, Tywin leaves her with the Mountain again, with orders to keep him sober no less, regardless of his less-than-stellar record with children.
    • Jaime's friendly chat with and subsequent murder of Alton Lannister.
  • Balance of Power: The only way to stay in power is to maintain one of these. Before the conquest, the Seven Kingdoms were relatively stable despite frequent warfare because of this trope. Then Aegon the Conqueror broke the deadlock and united them using dragons. Then the dragons died out and eventually Robert's Rebellion overthrew the Targaryens by uniting five of the nine factions against them. Then Joffrey's ascent annihilates the equilibrium into half a dozen warring factions.
  • Balancing Death's Books: Jaqen H'ghar invokes this trope when he offers Arya three kills for saving him and two others from dying in a fire.
  • Bald of Awesome: Prince Doran's bodyguard Areo Hotah.
  • Bald of Evil:
    • Regardless of his actual morality, Ser Ilyn Payne is terrifying executioner with a shiny dome.
    • Polliver, the sadistic soldier and Torture Technician.
    • Theon's brutish crewman Black Lorren.
    • Styr and the other Thenns combine this with ritual scarification to make them Obviously Evil.
    • Janos Slynt is pretty much of the epitome of the combination of this trope with Beard of Evil.
  • Ballistic Discount: Taken Up to Eleven in "And Now His Watch is Ended" when Daenerys buys an entire slave army in return for a dragon. The hitch is the slaves become totally obedient to Dany while Drogon still only obeys his mother. And Dany has come to really hate the slavers of Astapor...
  • Bandit Clan: The clansmen Tyrion recruits in the foothills of the Mountains of the Moon make a living raiding and preying on travelers along the road to the Vale.
  • Band of Brothers:
    • Jon, Sam, Pyp, and Grenn by the end of Season 1.
    • Beric's men are called the Brotherhood Without Banners for a reason.
  • Barbarian Longhair: The Dothraki never cut their hair unless they are defeated in battle. A little neater than most examples, as unless they have no victories to their name at all they keep it braided.
  • Barbarian Tribe: The Dothraki, the wildlings, and the hill tribes.
  • Bar Brawl: Sandor gets into one when some of his brother's men want to haul him back to King's Landing for a reward.
  • Barehanded Blade Block:
    • Catelyn saves her own life by using her bare hands to keep an assassin's dagger from her throat.
    • Sandor grabs hold of a Valyrian steel blade during a duel in "The Children".
    • In "Sons of the Harpy", Jaime inadvertently catches an opponents blade with his golden hand, trapping it long enough to kill his opponent.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Daenerys in Dothraki garb and again with this dress she wears in "Mockingbird".
  • Bestiality Is Depraved:
    • The in-universe bawdy song "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" can be taken this way, though the subtext is clear that it's a bear of man (i.e. large and hairy) who wins said maiden.
    • Tormund attempts to lighten the mood before battle by playing The Munchausen and regaling the others with the time he fucked a bear.note 
  • Beast and Beauty: Not surprising, as George R. R. Martin wrote for Beauty and the Beast.
    • Brutish burn victim Sandor Clegane seems to equally hate and love Sansa for being a pretty little idealist.
    • Jaime and Brienne, the handsome knight with a bad reputation and the ugly woman with a stubborn code of honour.
  • Beast of Battle:
    • The Targaryens rose to power by introducing dragon riding to Westeros.
    • Robb goes into battle with his direwolf Grey Wind at his side.
    • Mammoths are among the forces brought to bear against the Wall in "The Watchers on the Wall".
  • Bargain with Heaven: Catelyn sees her family's misfortunes as divine punishment for her inability to uphold a vow to raise Jon Snow as her own.
  • Bash Brothers: Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon were fostered together by Jon Arryn and fought this way in two wars. When Robert found himself pinned down at Stoney Sept, Ned led the Roaring Rampage of Rescue. It's very Serious Business when Ned declares, "I will not follow you now," in "The Wolf and the Lion".
  • Bastard Bastard: Bastard children, particularly boys, are often mistrusted because the Westerosi concept of In the Blood holds that because they are born of lust and deceit (i.e. adultery) they are predisposed to those traits in addition to having a vested interest in their trueborn siblings' demise. Jon averts it, but Ramsay and Joffrey play it absolutely straight.
  • Bastard Understudy: By the end of Season 4, Sansa becomes this to Littlefinger, impressing him by willingly protecting him with manipulation techniques while gaining some leverage against unwanted advances.
  • Bathtub Bonding: While at first it might look like a simple Bathtub Scene in a series notorious for its Fanservice, the scene between Jaime and Brienne in "Kissed By Fire" quickly becomes a pivotal moment in their Character Development.
  • Bathtub Scene:
    • Viserys elaborates on dragons and Targaryens while sharing a bath with Doreah.
    • Daenerys' final scene in "Second Sons" has her being bathed and tutored by Missandei, but it also serves the plot when Daario arrives to pledge his allegiance.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Robb frees a Lannister scout with misinformation about his movements to fool the proud and proactive Lord Tywin into mistaking a diversion for his main advance, allowing Robb to defeat and capture Jaime instead. Even Tywin is grudgingly impressed.
    • Tyrion feeds each member of the Small Council a different plan with instructions not to tell Cersei, knowing that Cersei's first reaction will be to confront him with the version given to her by the culprit. Varys sees through Tyrion's gambit immediately, but the culprit doesn't.
    • Daenerys' plan in Astapor is founded on the knowledge that Drogon will never allow himself to be given away but Kraznys and the other slave masters will mistakenly believe anything can be bought or sold.
    • During Tyrion's trial, Tywin seems to have been counting on Jaime's Big Brother Instinct to draw him into offering to give up the Kingsguard in exchange for helping extract a False Confession from Tyrion and send him to the Wall.
    • Ramsay preys on the Ironborn's penchant for petty cowardice at both Winterfell and Moat Cailin, offering pardons and safe passage to those who surrender, driving them to betray any leader who refuses. Then they get flayed anyway.
    • Tywin encourages disunity in Daenerys' court by having a pardon for Jorah fall into the hands of Barristan Selmy, who can be relied upon to take it to his queen.
  • Battle Ballgown: Cersei sports one of these during the Battle of Blackwater as a strange political statement. She continues the fashion afterward, as Margaery clandestinely mocks in "Valar Dohaeris."
    "Isn't the Queen's gown magnificent? The fabric, the embroidery, the metalwork? I've never seen anything like it."
  • Battle Butler: Sam consoles Jon about his appointment as a steward rather than a ranger in part by pointing out one of his duties would be to squire for the Lord Commander in battle. Circumstances also conspire to give Jon plenty of opportunity to get in more than his share of ass kicking.
  • Battle Chant: Tyrion inspires the Mountain Clans in "Baelor" and Lannister soldiers in "Blackwater" with Rousing Speeches. They respond by chanting, "Halfman!"
  • Battle Discretion Shot:
    • As Tyrion marches off to the Battle of the Green Fork, he is trampled and knocked unconscious, only waking up after the battle is over.
    • Given the immense size of the wildling army, the battle against them in "The Children" counts as one.
  • Battle Trophy:
    • For the ironborn, A Real Man Is a Killer so his ornamentation should only come from slain foes. This is known as the paying the "iron price" in contrast to the effeminate "gold price."
    • The clanswoman Chella daughter of Cheyk, whom Tyrion recruits in Season 1, wears a necklace of dried human ears and can be seen adding to her collection after the Battle of the Green Fork.
  • Bawdy Song: "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", a humorous song describing a sexual tryst between the eponymous bear and maiden.
  • The Beard: In Season 2, Margaery is shown to be well aware of her role, much to Renly's surprise. She tries to persuade him that even if he'd rather sleep with her brother, he still needs to father an heir to strengthen his position (and to make her a more convincing beard).
  • Beardness Protection Program:
    • Barristan Selmy grows one during his Chekhov M.I.A..
    • Roose Bolton sports one in "The Lion and the Rose" after having to smuggle himself into his own lands. The next scene includes him shaving it off.
    • Tyrion grows a hybrid between this trope and Beard of Sorrow for Season 5.
  • Beard of Barbarism: A few, most notably Tormund Giantsbane, whose luxuriant growth is perhaps the most impressive in the show.
  • Beard of Evil: Since beards are nearly omnipresent, many evil characters grow these.
  • Beard of Sorrow:
    • Tyrion grows a hybrid between this trope and Beardness Protection Program for Season 5.
    • Doran Martell is introduced sporting one as part of his general dishevelment, which is understandable since he has just learned that he's outlived all his siblings even though he is by far the eldest.
    • Loras has one in "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken", likely since his captors didn't let him shave.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Just about every character, partially because just about every one is some kind of nobility. The notable aversions from the books, such as Tyrion and Brienne, are also treated with Adaptational Attractiveness.
  • Beautiful Slave Girl: Missandei is played by Nathalie Emmanuel.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Played with constantly.
    • Many characters admired or trusted for their beauty—such as Cersei, Joffrey, and Margaery—are actually villainous, cruel, or manipulative while more honorable and compassionate characters like Tyrion and Brienne are mocked or despised for their unattractiveness.
    • Other characters play it straight. More heroic characters like Daenerys, Sansa, Robb, and Jon Snow are quite attractive and villainous or anti-villainous characters like Styr and the Hound are ugly or disfigured.
  • Beauty Is Bad: Although the series as a whole deconstructs the tie between beauty and morality, being blond and attractive are trademarks of the Anti-Villain Lannisters, whose most evil members are considered the most beautiful and whose Token Good Teammate happens to be the least. Furthermore, Jaime's turn away from jerkassery more or less corresponds to his dishevelment.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • In the books, Daenerys' hair is burned off in her Out of the Inferno moment, but here it's as fireproof as the rest of her—and not even a bit sooty.
    • Loras provides a rare male example in "Blackwater" when he removes his helm and doesn't appear to be a scratch or speck of dirt on him despite being fresh from battle. He even does a mild Hair Flip of his perfect, curly hair.
  • Bearer of Bad News: Roose Bolton delivers most of the bad news for Robb: that Winterfell has been seized and later that it has been sacked, that Bran and Rickon are presumed dead, and that his grandfather Lord Hoster has died.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Locke's idea of entertainment is to throw Brienne into a bear pit with a wooden sword and no armour and see how long she lasts.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Most of Melisandre's actions are motivated by her understanding of the visions in her flames.
  • Because I'm Good at It: This is why Tyrion refuses Shae's proposal that they leave together; despite his severe setbacks, he loves the game too much.
    "I belong here. All these bad people are what I'm good at: out-talking them, out-thinking them. It's what I am, and I like it. I like it more than anything I've ever done."
  • Because You Were Nice to Me:
    • Brienne has a crush on Renly because he's the only man who recognizes her worth regardless of appearance or gender and, as revealed in "High Sparrow" was the only one to show her genuine kindness when others made fun of her at a feast.
    • Jon and Ygritte's relationship kicks off when he spares her life.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Sansa is ecstatic about living at the royal court and being betrothed to the crown prince... until she realizes it a Deadly Decadent Court and her prince is The Caligula.
    • Arya seeks a life of adventure away from the restrictions of being a highborn lady until she's forced to become a Noble Fugitive in the war-torn Riverlands. Then all she wants is to reconnect with her family.
    • In the Histories and Lore featurettes, Bran notes that he always loved Old Nan's scary stories, but not anymore because he's in one.
    • Catelyn prayed for the gods to take away Ned's bastard son, but repented when he fell ill and wasn't expected to live.
    • Gendry wishes he had a family, but things don't go well when Melisandre takes him to his nearest living relatives.
    • Oberyn wants nothing more than to face the Mountain in single combat and force a public confession for his murder of Princess Elia and her children. Unfortunately, he gets both as Mountain crushes his skull.
    • Maggy, the witch Cersei confronts in her flashback in "The Wars to Come", remarks that "Everyone wants to know their future... until they know their future."
    • Shireen adamantly tells her father she wants to help in "The Dance of Dragons". Unfortunately, she doesn't know that involves burning her alive.
  • Becoming the Mask:
    • Originally serving as The Mole in hopes of a royal pardon, Jorah gradually develops a Bodyguard Crush on Daenerys and becomes her closest advisor in her mission to restore the Targaryen dynasty.
    • Several characters note that Jon shows signs of this after his time as a Fake Defector with the wildlings, especially when he refers to them as Free Folk rather than wildlings. Tormund even goes so far as to suggest Jon will never be a true "kneeler" again.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Theon discovers this when he captures Winterfell, but presses on regardless because he believes he's gone too far to turn back.
  • Being Good Sucks: Many characters who try to do the right thing end up suffering for it, but this gets deconstructed later in the series when it turns out being the Doomed Moral Victor can also lead to 100% Adoration Rating and the Undying Loyalty of one's subjects. This is perhaps best exemplified by ten-year-old Lyanna Mormont's declaration: "Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is Stark."
  • Believing Their Own Lies:
    • Joffrey seems to truly think of himself as a magnificent and heroic king, constantly boasting of crushing his enemies even though his faction's success is entirely founded on the competence of his uncle and grandfather despite of Joffrey's interference.
    • Making honest feelings do dishonest work is one of Cersei's many gifts. Oberyn and Tyrion even discuss this after Cersei brings up her daughter in a blatant attempt to gain sympathy.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension:
    • Between Jaime and Brienne.
    • To an extent, Sansa and The Hound.
    • Robb and Talisa show an undeniable attraction to each other even as they argue about the death and destruction his campaign has wrought.
    • Jon and Ygritte, in addition to being from opposing factions, spend a large portion of their relationship sniping at each other about their cultural blind spots.
    • Between Irri and Rakharo in Season 1. Unfortunately, the subplot had to be dropped in Season 2.
    • Jaime's frustrated declaration, "You're a hateful woman. Why have the gods made me love a hateful woman?!" certainly places his relationship with Cersei in this territory.
  • Beneath Suspicion: Tywin must consider Arya this to keep her around during top-secret war councils even after penetrating her Sweet Polly Oliver disguise and her lies about being a lowborn southerner.
  • Beneath the Mask:
    • Renly is much more insecure during his private moments.
    • Varys drops the Sissy Villain act when he gets really serious.
    • In private (and once when confronted by Tywin in a deleted scene), Pycelle drops his infirmity, elderly befuddlement, and Rambling Old Man Monologues to reveal a virile, cunning man playing a part to avoid unwanted attention.
    • In "The Gift", the High Sparrow declares it his intention to strip away the "finery" of the great houses and see them judged for what they truly are. More subtly, the same episode removes the High Sparrow's own mask: he is still a man of simple conviction and extreme piety, but his affable humility diminishes through his conversation with Olenna culminating in an implied threat and when he arrests Cersei his posture, expression, and eye contact become much more confrontational, revealing the fanatic zeal that lets the apparently gentle old man command the violent Faith Militant.
  • Benevolent Boss:
    • Tyrion treats his meek squire Pod quite well.
    • Varys sells Ros on entering his employ by mentioning that his "little birds" are paid quite well and not abused on a whim.
    • In "Two Swords," Olenna motivates her handmaidens by rewarding the one who finds the best necklace for Margaery with the second-best necklace.
  • Berserk Button:
    • King Robert has hated the Targaryens ever since he seized their throne. The very mention of them can be enough to send him into an angry rant.
    • If you even attempt to harm his wife or unborn child, Khal Drogo will conquer your kingdom, kill your men, rape your women, enslave your children, tear down your stone houses, and drag your broken gods back to Vaes Dothrak.
    • Tyrion's seems to be the mistreatment of women judging by his reaction to Joffrey's abuse of Sansa and Cersei's treatment of Ros.
    • Insubordination for Tywin, particularly from his children.
    • Cersei does not react well to attempts to separate her from her children.
    • The Hound hates knights, so never, under any circumstances, call him "ser."
  • The Berserker: In battle, Tormund and Styr both scream and howl while delivering powerful blows.
  • Best Friends In Law: Renly's political marriage to his boyfriend's sister not only gives him the forces needed to press his claim to the throne, but also an excuse to keep Loras close. Margaery even offers to let Loras help with the consummation.
  • Best Her to Bed Her: Jaime taunts Brienne by suggesting boys tried to force themselves on her when she was young and that she secretly wished one of them could overpower her. Her only answer is that none ever succeeded.
  • Best Served Cold:
    • Yoren gives a monologue in "The Night Lands" about his long wait to kill the man who murdered his brother.
    • Arya keeps a list of those she intends to take revenge on and even checks a few off it.
    • The climax of Varys' Origin Story monologue is him opening a large crate containing the sorcerer who castrated him all those years ago. It's easy enough to guess what happens next.
  • Better as Friends: Arya gets totally m'lady-zoned in "Kissed By Fire".
  • Better The Devil You Know:
    • After being continuously shuffled from bad to worse, Sansa finally decides this in "The Mountain and the Viper".
    • This also seems to be Arya's rationale for not escaping from the Hound.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: In "Blackwater", Cersei procures a vial of nightshade for herself and Tommen if the Red Keep should be breached. She also adds a touch of Taking You with Me by having Ser Ilyn Payne present to kill Sansa and the other highborn women holed up in the castle as well.
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The simultaneous wildling attacks in "The Watchers on the Wall" force Ser Alliser Thorne to choose between leaving the Wall or the castle itself in the hands of a lesser commander.
  • Beware the Honest Ones: Stannis is feared by schemers like Varys and Littlefinger because his sense of righteousness and refusal to compromise make him much less amenable to their unhindered scheming. Cersei also says it when she declares that her first defence after losing the battle would be to seduce the victor but this would be useless against Stannis.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Daenerys is one of the most compassionate people in the show, particularly to the weak and helpless, but if you cross her you should be prepared for a horrible death. She even uses her enemies' impressions of her as a naive young woman to her advantage on several occasions.
    • Arya is sweet and nice at the beginning of the series, but learns to take vengeance dead seriously. When Jaqen offers to kill three people for her, she takes him up on his offer.
    • At first glance, Varys is a effeminate sycophant, but the reality is very different.
    • Although always gentle and now frail with age, Maester Aemon shows just a touch of the Targaryens' fiery temperament when he recalls the downfall of his family to Jon in Season 1.
    • Subverted by Hodor, who is such a Gentle Giant that even being baited with spears does not provoke him. He only uses violence when Bran hijacks his body and forces him to do it against his will.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: In an unexpected moment of boldness, Sansa attempts to push Joffrey off the wall.
  • Beyond the Impossible:
    • According to Melisandre, resurrecting Beric six times should be impossible, even for a red priest.
    • While wargs are common beyond the Wall and there are legends of them further south, Jojen claims Bran is the first one in history to be able to warg a human being.
  • BFG: The ballistae mounted on Stannis' ships and the top of the Wall are definitely a medieval equivalent.
  • BFS:
    • The Starks' ancestral greatsword Ice is described as "absurdly large" and contains enough Valyrian steel for two longswords.
    • The Mountain is strong enough to wield a greatsword one-handed which gives him a phenomenal reach when paired with his massive size.
    • The Hound carries one on his back for open battle, but keeps a normal longsword at his hip for the quick draw.
  • Bifauxnen: Arya is often mistaken for a boy, especially when she dresses like one. This comes in very useful in her Sweet Polly Oliver escape from King's Landing.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence:
    • The episodes "Blackwater and "The Watchers on the Wall" are almost entirely composed of the Battle of the Blackwater and the Battle of Castle Black respectively.
    • The titular evacuation attempt in "Hardhome" is somewhat unique in having much less build-up than its predecessors "Blackwater" and "The Watchers on the Wall".
  • Big Bad Ensemble:
    • Tywin Lannister and Joffrey Baratheon head the Lannister faction, though Joffrey's assassination does nothing but tighten the Lannister grip on the throne, showing that Tywin is and has always been the true threat. Then he gets killed by his son Tyrion, making him a Disc One Final Boss.
    • Littlefinger is another top contender, since he masterminded the entire War of the Five Kings, orchestrated Joffrey's assassination with Olenna Tyrell, is Lord Protector of a rich, fertile region that isn't suffering from war deprivation and now has Villain with Good Publicity courtesy of Sansa Stark.
    • Balon Greyjoy becomes one in Season 2 when he invades the North for revenge and conquest. He has become something of a Diminishing Villain Threat since he has only one other appearance after that and the Ironborn are driven away from Moat Cailin, allowing the Boltons to take military possession of the North.
    • Mance Rayder has gathered a massive horde of Wildlings to attack the Wall, but he's actually trying to save his people from the White Walkers.
    • Roose Bolton is the Big Bad in the North after Season 3.
    • The Night's King.
  • Big Bad Wannabe:
    • Viserys Targaryen tries to amass an army to take back the Seven Kingdoms from King Robert, but despite marrying off his sister to Khal Drogo he never gets any respect from the Dothraki due to his arrogance and disrespect for their customs. He gets fed up with waiting on Drogo to fulfill his promise, and is killed after he threatens both Daenerys and Drogo's unborn son.
    • Cersei plays the game well enough during Robert's reign and Joffrey's ascent, but her attempt to be the power behind the throne fails spectacularly when Joffrey throws off her control and throws a Spanner in the Works. This prompts her father to sideline her in favour of Tyrion until he himself can take the reins and relegate her even further despite her superior rank as Queen Regent.
    • While undeniably monstrous, Joffrey is only a threat because his title allows him to frequently make stupid and sadistic decisions without fear of repercussions while his uncle and especially his grandfather provide the real strength to his faction.
    • Balon Greyjoy declares himself king, but none of his fellow prospective kings given him the same consideration they given each other, and with good reason since all his attacks prove little more than annoyances that his enemies ignore until they can deal with at their leisure. The biggest threat the Greyjoys ever pose comes from Theon and Dagmer going rogue with a single ship.
  • Big Brother Bully:
    • Viserys has browbeaten Daenerys emotionally and physically all her life.
    • Renly claims Robert and Stannis both bullied for possessing zero aptitude for warfare. Robert was more passive but certainly no kinder to Stannis, never giving him credit for his many accomplishments and staunch loyalty.
    • Tommen reveals in Season 4 that his brother Joffrey threatened to serve him his pet cat in his food.
    • Gregor Clegane's response to his little brother playing with his toy was to push his face into a brazier.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Robb gives a disapproving look at Sansa's attraction to Joffrey in "Winter is Coming", stands his ground against three outlaws to protect Bran in "A Golden Crown", and even breaks his stoic demeanor when confronting a man who murdered two captive squires, yelling "They were BOYS!"
    • Jon's protective streak for his half-siblings convinces Bran to avoid him, because he knows Jon would insist on interfering with his important mission in the name of protecting him. Jon also takes on this role for Sam and later Olly, his sworn brothers.
    • Despite being the youngest of the Stark children, Rickon reveals in "The Rains of Castamere" that he sees it as his job to protect his crippled brother Bran.
    • Gendry steps up to protect Arya almost immediately.
    • Jaime is the only one to consistently defend his little brother Tyrion. His violent ambush of Ned Stark is motivated by Tyrion's abduction, Cersei and Oberyn both mention him defending Tyrion even as a child, and he is the only major figure to publicly support Tyrion during Season 4, which culminates in him defying both Tywin and Cersei to free Tyrion prior to his execution.
    • In the backstory, Ned's big brother Brandon rode right into the Red Keep to demand a duel with Prince Rhaegar after his sister Lyanna was abducted. Unfortunately, the Mad King had him arrested and executed.
  • Big Budget Beef-Up: Each year since Season 1.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • The Hound saves Ser Loras from Gregor Clegane during the Tourney of the Hand.
    • Tyrion saving Catelyn from a mountain tribesman in "The Wolf and the Lion".
    • Tyrion saving Sansa from Joffrey's physical abuse in "Garden of Bones".
    • The Hound saves Sansa from Attempted Rape in "The Old Gods and the New", complete with heroic music.
    • Bronn saves the Hound when he becomes transfixed by a burning man.
    • Podrick when he saves Tyrion in "Blackwater".
    • Tywin Lannister and Loras Tyrell arriving just in time to save King's Landing from being overrun by Stannis Baratheon.
    • Barristan saves Daenerys from an assassin in "Valar Dohaeris".
    • Ramsay saves Theon from his pursuers.
    • Jaime returns to Harrenhal just in time to save Brienne from the bear pit in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair".
    • The Night's Watch's counterattack on Craster's Keep is perfectly timed to save Meera from a Near-Rape Experience.
    • Stannis and his army coming to the rescue in "The Children".
    • When Brienne returns to save Pod from his attacker in "The House of Black and White".
    • In "The Gift", Ghost turns up just when things are looking most grim for Sam and Gilly.
    • "The Dance of Dragons" is full of them. First, Jorah is saved from death in the pits by another opportunistic fighter, then he throws a spear to kill the Son of the Harpy behind Dany, and finally Drogon arrives at the last moment to save Dany and her followers from being overrun.
  • Big Damn Kiss:
    • Jon and Ygritte after their ascent of the Wall in "The Climb".
    • Sam and Gilly have their First Kiss as he prepares to go into battle in "The Watchers on the Wall".
    • Missandei and Grey Worm in "Kill the Boy".
  • Big Eater: Late in Season 3 and early in Season 4, Sandor Clegane develops a habit of immediately taking advantage of any food left by the people stupid or unlucky enough to get in his way. Justified as he has a very large body to maintain on a very unreliable diet.
  • Big Fun: For all his flaws, Robert's boisterous amiability among fighting men is the main thing holding his kingdoms together. In the Histories and Lore segments, Stannis—who is usually very critical of his brother—admits and praises Robert's gift for inspiring loyalty with his carousing.
  • Bigger Bad: The White Walkers to the War of the Five Kings and the villainous characters responsible for it (Tywin, Joffrey, Littlefinger, Balon, etc.). Their threat overshadows any other in the setting, but most factions aren't even aware of them and facing lesser but more immediate enemies.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed:
    • Hodor's package is Osha-approved and shown to the audience.
    • Tyrion also claims this is his one gift of size.note 
    • Subverted by Pod in Season 3. While discussing his status as an in-universe Memetic Sex God, Ros reports that he's not especially endowed.
  • The Big Board:
    • Stannis' council chamber on Dragonstone contains a table carved and painted in the shape of Westeros, around which he plans his maneuvers.
    • Robb's map layouts and carved sigils to mark troop deployments gets the most close-ups of any map.
    • Roose and Ramsay also strategize around one in "Kill the Boy".
  • Big Little Brother: Since Loras is several inches tall than Margaery it's easy to assume he's the older sibling as in the novels, but writer Brian Cogman has confirmed Margaery is the elder Tyrell child on the show.
  • Big Little Man: Tyrion is introduced talking face-to-face with Ros. It's not until she stands up that we see Tyrion is a dwarf.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Cersei when Tyrion arranges for her daughter Myrcella to be shipped off to Dorne.
    • Brienne yells this in "The Ghost of Harrenhal" after Renly is stabbed through the heart.
    • Maester Luwin reacts this way to Theon's display in "A Man Without Honor".
    • Stannis' attempt to rally his routed troops at the end of the Battle of the Blackwater quickly devolves into this.
    • Brienne's desperate screams as she is about to be raped by Locke and his men in "Walk of Punishment".
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows:
    • Emilia Clarke (Daenerys), especially because they don't match her platinum blonde wig even slightly.
    • Maisie Williams (Arya) and Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran) are both growing these as they age.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family:
  • Big Sister Bully:
    • Cersei has been cruel and hateful to her little brother since his birth. As related by Oberyn Martell, she called considered him monster and openly abused him even as a baby.
    • Yara's is introduced invoking Surprise Incest on Theon as a cruel prank when he returns home.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Meera Reed is fiercely protective of her little brother Jojen.
  • Big Sleep: Robb's direwolf Grey Wind dies this way after being shot multiple times. Judging by the majority of reaction videos, this actually hit a lot of people harder than the human deaths that followed.
  • Bilingual Backfire: Kraznys mo Nakloz finds out the hard way that Daenerys could speak Valyrian all along.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • In "Breaker of Chains", the Meereenese champion challenges Dany by shouting a Valyrian translation of the famous taunts from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
    • "Orel" means "Eagle" in several Slavic languages, a fitting name for a warg who uses an eagle.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Cersei and Joffrey both deceive Sansa with this in Season 1.
    • Ramsay is revealed to be capable of this when he puts on a sane and cheerful façade for Littlefinger in "High Sparrow".
  • Bi the Way:
    • Margaery implies in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" that as well as having her fair share of men, she has at least experimented with women.
    • Oberyn Martell and his lover Ellaria Sand are introduced selecting a male and female prostitute for themselves.
  • Bizarre Seasons: The seasons last for years. Summer officially ended in the Season 2 premiere, but winter is still coming. This is increased by the show's expanded time frame: in the books, autumn lasts roughly two years but the show has expanded it to more than three.
  • Blackmail: Tyrion turns Lancel into his mole within Cersei's inner circle by threatening to expose that Cersei has been using him as a bedwarmer.
  • Black and Gray Morality: There are very few, if any, 100% heroes but there are definitely a few utter villains.
  • Black and White Insanity:
    • Melisandre believes in a constant struggle between the good force of Light and the evil force of Darkness. Consequently anything that doesn't align with the Lord of Light is evil and must be destroyed because if half an onion is black with rot, it's a rotten onion.
    • Daenerys shows signs of this during her Slave Liberation, particularly in Meereen, when she starts dealing out vengeful punishments to the ruling class with the rationale that it is justice because they deserve it because they are evil.
  • The Blacksmith:
    • As an apprentice smith, Gendry upholds his father's family tradition of wielding hammers.
    • The Smith is one of the male aspects of the God of the Seven, symbolizing industry and craftsmanship.
  • Black Comedy: Although the series is very bleak in tone overall, it does not take itself seriously enough for there to be no laughs. Especially when much of the humour stems from making light of all the horrible things that happen.
  • Black Sheep:
    • Tyrion for being a dwarf whose birth killed his mother.
    • Jon, to a lesser degree, for being a bastard raised along with his trueborn siblings.
    • Theon among the Starks for being a hostage and among the Greyjoys for being raised in a different culture.
    • Sam for being the fat, timid, and bookish son of a great warrior.
    • Renly is viewed as something of an embarrassment for being the Non-Action Guy from a family of famous warriors.
    • The Blackfish got his nickname after being called the black sheep of a family whose sigil is a fish.
  • Blade on a Stick:
    • Oberyn, like most Dornishmen, favours a spear in open combat. This trope form half of his House sigil along with The Power of the Sun.
    • Grey Worm, and the Unsullied in general, can kick some serious ass with their spears and phalanx formations.
    • Doran Martell's immense personal guardsman Areo Hotah wields an opulently bejeweled glaive.
  • Blasphemous Boast:
    • The illusion of Drogo in the House of the Undying explains his presence by saying, "Maybe I told the Great Stallion to go fuck himself and came back here to wait for you." Dany admits that sounds like something he'd do.
    • Littlefinger delivers one to the face of several religious zealots in "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken":
      Littlefinger: We both peddle fantasies, Brother Lancel; mine just happen to be entertaining.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • When Robb asks how his mother treated Jon while visiting Bran's sickbed in "The Kingsroad", Jon says, "She was very kind."
    • Tyrion has to struggle manfully to call his borderline-retarded jailer a "smart man" in "A Golden Crown".
    • Renly's response to being asked if he has ever fucked a Riverlands girl is a vague, "Once, I think." Later, he blames his inability to perform on wine, but Margaery knows better and tries to accommodate.
    • Lancel's account of Robb's victory at Oxcross includes accusations of cannibalism and using sorcery to conjure an army of wolves.
    • Sansa's continued refrain that she is loyal to Joffrey, her One True Love, even moments after being stripped, beaten, and threatened on his orders.
    • Brienne is a Bad Liar whenever it comes to denying her affection for Renly.
    • Margaery telling Joffrey in "Dark Wings, Dark Words", "The subtleties of politics are often lost on me." Also, her claim in "High Sparrow" that being called queen feels strange.
    • Joffrey's boasts of saving the city and winning the war in "Two Swords" rather than the truth that he damaged troop morale by retreating at a critical time.
    • When Jaime asks Loras if he is looking forward to his wedding to Cersei, the young knight hesitates for a moment before replying "Yes, very much."
    • Tyrion's trial in "The Laws of Gods and Men" is full of these, particularly when Pycelle calls Joffrey "the most noble child the Gods ever put on this good earth," and when Cersei inverts the truth to claim Joffrey fought bravely in the Battle of Blackwater while Tyrion plotted to kill him.
    • The High Septon tries to pass off his brothel visit as tending the souls of the common people in "High Sparrow".
    • Ironically, this is what Cersei does by declaring the charges of fornication, treason, incest, and murder against her to be this trope.
  • Blindfolded Trip: How Arya, Gendry, and the Hound are taken the Brotherhood Without Banners' headquarters under the hollow hill.
  • Bling of War:
    • The Kingsguard armour is incredibly ornate, in striking contrast to the utilitarian armour worn by Ned Stark and his household guard. Ned lampshades this as a taunt to Jaime, "Very handsome armour; not a scratch on it." However, this is motivated more by his distaste for Jaime than the armour itself since he speaks nothing but praise of Barristan Selmy, who wears the same armour.
    • Loras' literal shining armour has small wrought flowers and vines covering every inch, which is justified in that it is tourney armour and tourneys are all about Conspicuous Consumption. It gets modified for actual battle in Season 2.
    • This featurette reveals that Renly's armour (which includes velvet) was the most complicated costume created for the first two seasons of the show.
    • Joffrey's armor and gilded sword. His crossbow is adorned with gems as well.
    • While acting as Hand of the King, Tyrion gets a lavish suit of armor cleverly adorned with golden hands.
    • Deconstructed by Bronn, who refuses to wear the flashy attire of the City Watch because a cloak slows you down and gold prevents concealment.
    • Prince Doran Martell's personal bodyguard Aero Hotah wields an large, bejeweled glaive.
    • Sandor notices Oathkeeper's garish hilt and pommel and is quickly able to figure out who made it and gave it to its wielder.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil:
    • The Lannisters. Although some later subvert it, others continue to play it straight.
    • Viserys Targaryen also plays this straight.
  • Blood Brothers: A Dothraki khal and his bloodriders share everything until the day they die.
  • Blood from Every Orifice: Joffrey dies this way.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Usually restricted to justified cases where characters have suffered respiratory injuries, such as Ser Hugh, Lommy, and Polliver who are all stabbed in the throat and Jeor Mormont who is stabbing the back, presumably finding a lung. Not to mention the characters who die from blades entering or exiting via the mouth itself. Victims of poisoning tend to play it straight, however.
  • Blood Knight:
    • Jaime lives for fighting until well into the series. You can see his eyes light up when he face off with Ned, and he even spends his captivity verbally sparring with his captors and generally acting like a caged lion. When he finally gets a sword in his hands again, his face lights up and he spends a few moments just savouring the fight to come.
    • Robert is an example of what happens when one of these becomes a king with no enemies to fight. As Renly points out, Robert loves his killing and became king because he used to be good at it.
    • The Dothraki are an entire race who live this trope. They invoke Duel to the Death so frequently that a Dothraki wedding without at least three deaths is considered a dull affair.
    • The Hound tells Sansa that "killing is the sweetest thing there is."
    • Gregor Clegane doesn't seem to aspire to any calling higher than RapePillageAndBurning his way across Westeros.
    • Robb shows a hint of this when he declares, "The Lannisters have been running from us since Oxcross. I'd love a fight. The men would love a fight. But I don't think we're going to get one."
    • Ramsay's response to a raid on his home is to declare, "This is turning into a lovely evening," and charge the enemy shirtless and smiling.
    • Daario declares that killing enemies and consensual sex are the greatest pleasures in life, an understandable worldview for a man who kills people for a living. In "Mockingbird", he even complains about acting as a glorified watchman.
    • Styr looks like he's having the time of his life when he's carving up Night's Watch with his massive axe.
    • Areo Hotah remarks in "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" that facing off with Jaime would have been a good fight once.
  • Blood Lust: Joffrey seems to only enjoy inflicting pain and death.
  • Blood Magic:
    • Mirri Maz Duur knows it, calls it by name, and warns Dany that it has a terrible price.
    • Melisandre uses it to (apparently) kill Stannis' enemies, though the circumstances surrounding their deaths are sometimes ambiguous.
    • The witch Maggy, who predicts Cersei's future in "The Wars to Come", needs to taste her blood to do so.
    • Shireen is sacrificed because of their king's blood in an attempt to end a blizzard.
  • The Bluebeard: Ramsay has a penchant for killing lovers who bore him, as Myranda is pleased to explain and enumerate for Sansa.
  • Blue Blood: The majority of characters are some form of nobility, from ancient and powerful houses like the Starks and Lannisters to recently promoted ones like the Seaworths and Cleganes.
  • Bluff The Imposter: Some Stark soldiers call out Brienne and Jaime on their ruse that Jaime is a common thief by demanding they both say his name at the same time.
  • Blunder Correcting Impulse: Edmure is charged with ending his father's funeral by lighting the floating pyre with a flaming arrow. After he misses three times, his uncle Blackfish pushes him aside and hits on the first try.
  • Blunt "Yes": This is the High Sparrow's response when Olenna incredulously asks if he really intends to punish Loras for merely "shagging some perfumed ponce" and Margaery for defending her brother.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal:
    • This is what earned Jaime his infamous sobriquet: the Kingslayer. He deeply resents that everyone is glad the monstrous Mad King is dead, but still despise him as The Oathbreaker for killing him because he was a Kingsguard.
    • When the gold cloaks turn on Ned at the end of "You Win Or You Die".
    • During the Battle of Blackwater Tyrion is attacked by one his Kingsguard escorts.
    • Through a bit of duplication magic, this is how Pyat Pree kills the Thirteen.
    • The parting between Tyrion and Bronn can be seen as a very understated version since it concerns a bodyguard refusing aid in a time of need because he's received a better offer.
    • Ralf Kenning is rewarded with an axe to the head when he refuses to surrender to Ramsay.
  • Bodyguard Crush:
    • Jorah develops one for Daenerys. Viserys is the first to mention it in "A Golden Crown" and both Daenerys and Jorah circuitously acknowledge it in "The Ghost of Harrenhal".
    • Renly was the object of affection for both Loras (a reciprocal same-sex example) and Brienne (an unrequited gender inversion) while they were members of his Kingsguard.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: The Dothraki follow only the strongest, so their leader the khal must, by definition, be more badass than his bloodriders.
  • Body Horror: The disease greyscale causes flesh to calcify and crack, eventually expanding to organs and causing insanity and death.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: King Robert Baratheon, Greatjon Umber, and Tormund Giantsbane.
  • Boisterous Weakling:
    • Joffrey seems to have picked up Robert's boisterousness without any of the bruiser to back it up.
    • Hot Pie projects strength this way, but is mellow enough once Arya gets to know him.
  • Bolivian Army Cliffhanger: Samwell is last seen surrounded by wights in the Season 2 finale.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Syrio Forel is last seen preparing to duel a fully-armed knight with a broken wooden sword.
  • Bondage Is Bad: As Gendry discovers in "Second Sons".
  • Bonus Material: The DVD and Blu-ray releases have many standard bonus features like and Deleted Scenes, DVD Commentary, but perhaps the most interesting are the Histories and Lore segments, a series of lectures by various characters (complete with (unreliable narration) on the history and customs of the setting.
  • Book Dumb: Davos is illiterate until Season 3, but still an intelligent character.
  • Book Ends:
    • Season 1 opens with the reawakening of the Evil Is Deathly Cold White Walkers and closes with the rebirth of the Kill It with Fire dragons at opposite ends of the world. The season also begins and ends with a new generation re-acquiring their ancestral Cool Pet: the Starks discover a litter of direwolf pups in "Winter is Coming" and Daenerys hatches her dragons in "Fire and Blood".
    • Inverted by the Season 2 finale and Season 3 premiere: "Valar Morghulis" and "Valar Dohaeris" are traditional Valyrian call-and-response Arc Words that translate to "All men must die," and "All men must serve."
    • The episode "Two Swords" opens with the loss of one important sword and the recovery of another.
    • In their scene in "Oathkeeper", Cersei opens by snarking at Jaime for calling her "Your Grace" but ends with a curt, "That will be all, Lord Commander."
    • Lampshaded by Mance in "The Wars to Come" when he points out that his first and last meetings with Jon involve one of them as a prisoner of the other.
    • The first and last shots of Hardhome, showing its population alive and well and then showing them reanimated as wights.
  • Bookworm:
    • Tyrion claims, "My brother has his sword and I have my mind," though he proves no slouch with an axe himself.
    • Sam always wanted to be a wizard, prefers being a steward, and uses "I read it in a book" as his catchphrase.
    • When Davos refuses the book she offers him, Shireen gets a looks that scream, "How could anyone refuse a book? Books are awesome!" Since it's all she seems to do, she's probably more well-read as a teen than half the nobility of Westeros.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Brienne sneers with particular disdain that Jaime is acting like a woman. While she clearly respects some women, such as Catelyn, Brienne has spent her whole life turning her back on traditional feminine pursuits and behavior.
  • Boom Head Shot: Theon's rescuer kills the leader of his pursuers point-blank with an arrow to the face.
  • Boring but Practical:
    • Armour whenever Armor Is Useless is averted or deconstructed.
    • The utilitarian armour of the Starks and their bannermen and soldiers.
    • The Lannisters and Tyrells don't have dragons like the Targaryens, the power of a god like Stannis, or even pet direwolves like the Stark children, but they do have gold and arable land respectively, which they parley into tremendous military and political clout.
    • The typical armoured hack-and-slash fighting style of Westeros can be described this way in comparison to some of the more elegant styles from Essos. It may not be as energetic as the Dothraki, as precise as the Unsullied, or as graceful as the Braavosi Water Dance, but it is just as effective.
    • Roose's strategy to remain behind Winterfell's high walls and let Stannis' forces waste away from cold and deprivation. To inject some action into the narrative, Ramsay prefers to take the fight to Stannis with twenty picked men.
  • Boring Insult:
    • Young Cersei calls the witch Maggy this in "The Wars to Come".
    • Olenna describes the High Sparrow's "man of the people" act as dull, but seems disconcerted when as she realizes it really isn't an act.
  • Born in the Saddle: The Dothraki worship the Great Stallion (and the Mother of Mountains), have 14 words for horse, express many things in horse-metaphors, and believe that a man who cannot ride is no man at all. Viserys even asks the obligatory question about how much they love their horses.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: "This is not the day I die," is Jojen Reed's catchphrase in the books. Unfortunately, Oberyn is not prophetic, so it is not nearly as accurate.
  • Boss Banter: Karl can't seem to shut his mouth during his fight in "First of His Name".
  • Both Sides Have a Point: In "The Wars to Come", Jon urges Mance to bend the knee to Stannis to save his people by earning them a place south of the Wall, but Mance argues his authority comes from a respect that would evaporate the moment they see him kneel and any leader that gives a damn about his people wouldn't ask them to die for a foreigner.
  • Bottle Episode: Subverted by "Blackwater" and "The Watchers on the Wall", which are easily the most expensive episodes of the show and required more than their share of their seasons' budget despite focusing on one area instead of the usual Four Lines, All Waiting.
  • Bound and Gagged:
    • After Jaime's failed escape, Catelyn orders, "Take him back to his cell. Bind him with every chain you can find," then adds "...and gag him!" when he continues to snark at her.
    • Tyrion is treated to this after his capture in "The High Sparrow".
  • Bounty Hunter: Cersei offers a lordship for whoever brings her Tyrion's head, leading to the death of at least one innocent dwarf.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Brienne's makes an interesting contrast to Ser Loras' opulent curls.
  • Braids of Action: Daenerys gradually adopts this hairstyle over Season 1 as she becomes a stronger and more confident until she has a thick braid in the season finale. This is likely related to the Dothraki custom of warriors braiding their hair and cutting it off when defeated as a mark of shame.
  • Braids of Barbarism: Dothraki men only cut their hair when they are defeated in combat, so undefeated warriors like Khal Drogo have long braids.
  • Brain Bleach: The look on Theon's face when he realizes the woman he attempted to seduce, and even groped, was his big sister Yara!
  • Brains and Brawn:
    • Tyrion to Bronn and the Hill Tribes initially. Later, Tyrion shows some skill for violence and Bronn his own brand of cleverness.
    • Bran to Osha and Hodor, though Osha has her own brand of cleverness.
    • Tyrion also alludes to this with him and his brother, although Jaime is by no metric dumb.
  • Brainy Brunette:
    • Talisa is a highly competent nurse and fully capable of engaging Robb in a debate.
    • Margaery is a very adept conversationalist and manipulator.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Theon, to the point of Two Plus Torture Equals Five.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Sansa hits most of the characteristics in Season 1, but later grows out of it.
  • Bread and Circuses:
    • This is the Tyrell's political philosophy. Their lands, the Reach, are the breadbasket of Westeros and the heartland of chivalry (the circus, as it were). They win over the smallfolk of King's Landing by providing food and Olenna comments that a royal wedding is just the sort of distraction needed to keep the common people contented.
    • This is also one of the arguments in favour of Daenerys reopening the fighting pits, which is fitting for an Expy of Roman Gladiator Games.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
    • Tyrion is very fond of this peculiar conjunction:
      • He asks Bronn, "What is it you want, Bronn? Gold? Women? Golden women?"
      • He criticizes Joffrey with, "We've had vicious kings, and we've had idiot kings, but I don't know if we've ever been cursed with a vicious idiot for a king!"
      • After being chided for bedding harlots and drinking with thieves, Tyrion retorts, "Occasionally, I drank with the harlots."
      • When Shae is teasing him, he declares, "This is cruel and unfair. Cruelly unfair."
      • When Varys confronts him with the choice of drinking himself to death or traveling to Meereen, Tyrion asks if he can drink himself to death on the way to Meereen.
    • Oberyn Martell gets in on the act in "Two Swords" when he sneers at a couple of Lannister guardsmen about their "gold, and lions, and golden lions."
    • Ser Alliser Thorne going over his latest batch of Night's Watch recruits: "Raper, thief, raper, thief and raper..."
    • The Martell sigil is a sun transfixed by a spear; their seat is a castle called Sunspear.
  • Break Her Heart To Save Her: Tyrion to Shae in "The Lion and the Rose".
  • Break the Badass: Locke's intention in cutting off Jaime's sword hand. It works for awhile.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • Sansa starts out blindly loyal to her fiance, but having her daddy's head chopped off cures her of that.
    • Arya's Plucky Girl nature initially obscures the effects of the massive amount of grief, trauma, and anger she undergoes, but as time goes on she grows much colder and more ruthless.
    • Rickon begins the series happily laughing with his brothers when Bran fails at archery, but becomes a confused and sullen child who wanders the crypts with his enormous direwolf and insists no one will come back.
    • Ros in Season 2. First she sees a baby murdered and receives An Offer You Can't Refuse to stop sobbing about it, then she's forced to torture another girl into an Ambiguous Situation, then she's beaten and held hostage to Tyrion's good behaviour. By the end, she's willing to become an informer for Varys.
    • Poor Tommen in "Sons of the Harpy" is torn between the controlling women in his life and his attempts to restore harmony are rewarded with an enraged wife and being called a bastard and an abomination.
  • Break the Haughty:
    • Throughout Season 3, Theon is tortured to insanity by Ramsay.
    • Jaime remains completely unbroken by months of captivity, but that all changes when he loses his sword hand.
    • In ''The Mountain and the Viper", Oberyn is cool and generally badass the entire fight against Gregor (and for that matter, the whole season), but in the moments leading up to his...gruesome death, Gregor has him so utterly broken he's screaming like a child.
    • By "Hardhome", confinement has turned Cersei into an absolute mess desperate enough to suck water off the floor, but she still refuses to confess and insists she will see her tormentors die.
  • Breast Plate: Cersei wears one built into her dress in "Blackwater" that is obviously as a fashion statement rather than for protection. When she wears a similar gown to supper in "Valar Dohaeris", Margaery "compliments" her on the metalwork.
  • Breath Weapon: The dragons have the standard ability to breath fire.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In "The Kingsroad", Tyrion mentions he wants to visit the Wall so he can "piss off the edge of the world." He goes through with it, to Jon Snow's amusement, near the end of "Lord Snow."
    • Also, the possibility of a Dothraki invasion:
      Daenerys: If my brother was given an army of Dothraki, could he conquer The Seven Kingdoms?
      Mormont: [...] King Robert is fool enough to meet them in open battle. But the men advising him are different.

      King Robert: Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in the open field. note 
    • Tyrion promises his jailer Mord all the gold in his purse to tell Lysa he wishes to confess, and delivers on the promise once he reclaims said purse and his freedom.
    • Daenerys reprimands two members of her khalasar for discussing how best to steal a giant golden peacock from their host in Qarth, but in "Valar Morghulis" two men can be seen behind Dany as she departs Xaro's house... carrying a giant golden peacock.
    • In Season 2, Tyrion complains about all the Jerkass Gods and asks, "Where's the god of tits and wine?" In Season 3, while even more drunk than usual Tyrion proclaims himself this particular god to annoy his father.
    • Hot Pie's direwolf bread improves exponentially between "Breaker of Chains" and "Mockingbird".
  • Brief Accent Imitation:
    • Olenna tries out a Northern accent for the Stark motto "Winter is Coming" when pointing out how much more inherently badass it sounds than "Growing Strong".
    • Ygritte teases Jon several times with a guttural voice modeled on his own.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Despite his prodigious skill with a sword and a certain cunning when he bothers to use it, Jaime has few tangible accomplishments beyond his infamous kingslaying and shows no greater ambition than to be a member of the Kingsguard. By contrast, his father, sister, and brother all aspire to powerful positions such as Hand, Regent, or Lord Paramount.
    Tywin: You're blessed with abilities few men possess, you're blessed to belong to the most powerful family in the Kingdoms, and you're still blessed with youth. And what have you done with these blessings? You've served as a glorified bodyguard for two kings: one a madman, the other a drunk [...] I need you to become the man you were always meant to be. Not next year, not tomorrow... now.
  • Bring Me My Brown Pants:
    • King Robert makes himself sad reminiscing about his first kill when he recalls that the dying all shit themselves.
    • Hot Pie wets himself when he realizes not even Staring Down Cthulhu affects whether or not he is selected for torture.
    • Salladhor Saan tells two prostitutes a variation of the trope-naming joke, only for both to beat him to the punchline.
    • Sam publicly shames Janos Slynt by reminding everyone how after the battle he found Janos cowering "in a puddle of his own making," which is either a slight fabrication on Sam's part or an afterthought of the writers since their was no evidence of this at the time.
  • British Accents: The show did its best to mirror the accent distribution of Britain in early seasons, but this drops off quite a bit in the name of practicality.
    • Ned Stark, a prominent northerner, speaks with Sean Bean's native Sheffield accent, while southerners like Cersei and Joffrey speak with more of a London/RP accent, as do the exiled royals Daenerys and Viserys. Though it does not match geographically, Mark Addy's Yorkshire accent excellently characterizes Robert's affinity for Ned and alienation from the rest of the court.
    • Characters from the Vale have a tendency toward more Celtic accents such as Irish or Welsh.
    • The ironborn, not counting House Greyjoy, speak with a West Country "pirate" accent.
    • Wildlings from the far north generally speak with northern English or Scottish accents, though Tormund sounds slightly Nordic and Styr has a hint of Russian.
    • Non-British actors like Peter Dinklage and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau have varied success with their British accents but are at least fairly consistent.
  • Broke Episode: An arc played out in later seasons, where the War of the Five Kings has devastated the economy of Westeros and even the wealthy Lannisters are severely strapped for cash under the looming threat of the Iron Bank of Braavos.
  • Broken Bird:
    • Arya's experiences change her from a Plucky Girl Tomboy Princess to a borderline psychotic killer obsessed with revenge.
    • Sansa goes through both Break the Haughty and Break the Cutie only to end up as the protegée of Littlefinger the Magnificent Bastard.
    • Cersei's descriptions of how she once loved Robert and her shattered hopes of a happy marriage place her in this trope.
    • Averted by Gilly, whom Sam notes remains totally unbroken by all the horrible things that have happened to her in her life.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Jon's discovery that the Night's Watch is an Army of Thieves and Whores rather than the ancient and noble order he believed them to be. He is even more disappointed to learn the Lord Commander turns a blind eye to Craster's depravity because he's too valuable an asset.
    • Sansa idolizes Cersei ("I'll be a queen just like you!") until the events of "Baelor" and "Fire and Blood".
    • Daenerys always assumed (as her brother believed) that the rumours about her father's madness were just Malicious Slander until Barristan explains they are true.
    • Olly clearly idolizes Jon but is definitely not pleased to learn Jon really means to ally with the wildlings since his entire village was slaughtered by them.
  • Broken Tears: Sansa after she hears about the Red Wedding.
  • Bromance: In "The Wolf and the Lion", Cersei snarks that she's sorry Robert's "marriage" to Ned Stark didn't work out.
  • Brother-Sister Incest:
    • The Targaryens had a penchant for marrying brother to sister to preserve the purity of their bloodline, which may be tied to their familial affinity for dragons but unfortunately also carries a tendency for madness. However, the amount of incest and madness is frequently exaggerated, both in-universe and out, since Daenerys' parents were the first to do so in over a hundred years.
    • Also, Cersei and Jaime Lannister. One of them even invokes the Targaryens as a rationalization.
  • Brother-Sister Team:
    • Margaery and Loras form one of these, first in their three-way marriage to Renly and then at court. Unlike Cersei and Joffrey's barely concealed discord, the Tyrells are very in sync during their dinner conversation in "Valar Dohaeris".
  • Brown Eyes: Renly has brown eyes on the show and he's considerably more sensible and stable than either his brothers or his blue-eyed book counterpart.
  • Brown Note: Ramsay uses horns as a psychological weapon against his victims.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Blackfish Tully is one of the biggest hardasses in Westeros, but he's actually a really good guy who would never actually hurt his nephew.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    • Benjen tells Jon in no uncertain terms that he is no better than anyone else at the Wall; they are all brothers.
    • When Cersei asks if there was ever a possibility of their marriage working, Robert sadly but bluntly tells her no.
    • During his Establishing Character Moment, Stannis freely admits his mutual dislike for Robert and insists that Jaime be called both "the Kingslayer" and "Ser" because he's still a knight. Later, when warned that hundreds will die storming the beaches around King's Landing, Stannis corrects that thousands will.
      Stannis: He wasn't "my beloved brother." I didn't love him. He didn't love me.
      Stannis: Make it "Ser Jaime Lannister", whatever else he is, the man's still a knight.
    • This trait is why Stannis values Davos above all his other vassals.
    • Renly is usually snarky and roundabout, but he get this way with Littlefinger in "Garden of Bones".
      "I don't like you, Lord Baelish. I don't like you face. I don't like the words that come oozing out of your mouth. I don't want you in my tent one minute more than necessary."
    • Tywin is never one to spare someone's feelings in his analysis of their deficiencies. Perhaps his most noteworthy example is when he explains what a terrible king Joffrey was... in front of his mother... right next to Joffrey's corpse.
    • Ygritte admits that the best Qhorin could hope for if he was captured by wildlings would be a quick death.
    • Olenna, the "Queen of Thorns," generally doesn't care about being polite; she's very forthright with her opinions.
    • Dolorous Edd admits he abandoned Sam in "Valar Morghulis" because Sam was fat and slow.
    • Rickard Karstark to Robb in "Dark Wings, Dark Words":
      "I can believe until it snows in Dorne; it don't change the fact we've got half the men. [...] I think you lost this war the day you married her."
    • This is one of Bronn's most endearing qualities, such as his blunt demand for a raise after his latest promotion: "I'm a knight now; knights cost double."
    • Mance Rayder claims he managed to unite the wildlings because he told them the truth: that they will all die if they don't get south.
    • Ellaria Sand chastises any attempt by others to avoid mentioning she is a bastard.
    • Lord Yohn Royce doesn't mince words about Robin Arryn's skill at arms in "The Wars to Come".
    • In "Hardhome", Jon bluntly admits to shooting Mance Rayder, which understandably enrages the wildlings until Tormund explains it was a Mercy Kill.
  • The Brute: Gregor and Sandor Clegane are simply muscle for their masters, exerting no political influence except with the point of their swords.
  • The Bully:
    • Ser Alliser Thorne bullies his recruits and encourages bullying among them, though he claims this is necessary to toughen them up.
    • Rast bullies Sam at the Wall.
    • Lommy and Hot Pie try to bully Arya, but are mostly just putting on a tough front. After an initial altercation, they all get along fairly well.
    • Joffrey gets his kicks tormenting others.
  • Bullfight Boss: Bronn fights Ser Vardis Egan by avoiding his attack until he is worn out.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Viserys tries to force his will on Khal Drogo, who is much larger, stronger, and more skilled, by threatening the khal's wife and unborn child. It goes even worse than you might expect.
    • Mirri, in a (somewhat) literal example.
    • Lommy and Hot Pie's attempt to bully Arya in "Fire and Blood" does not go as they had hoped.
    • In "The North Remembers", Littlefinger smugly alludes to the Twincest "rumours" concerning Cersei to Cersei herself, claiming knowledge is power. Cersei responds by telling her guards to cut his throat, seemingly on a whim, only rescinding the order just before they follow through.
    • Pyat Pree treats Daenerys and her literal dragons quite poorly in "Valar Morghulis", which is a very bad idea. Since he's unaware of the possible backfire, it can also be classified as Mugging the Monster.
    • Craster is confident enough to insult, threaten, and chastise his guests despite being one man surrounded by dozens of dangerous ex-criminals. He gets away with it because they are exhausted and commanded by a gentleman, until he pushes them too far.
    • Razdahl mo Eraz tries another literal version when he insults and threatens Daenerys in the presence of her dragons and is quickly sent packing.
    • Olenna is quick to point out in "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken", that Cersei's antagonism toward House Tyrell is badly misjudged, since the Lannisters are still quite dependent on them.
    • The Lord of Bones gets promptly beaten to death with his own club after deciding it was a good idea to taunt Tormund Giantsbane.
  • Bumbling Dad: Mace Tyrell is entirely played for laughs as a bumbling, sycophantic Momma's Boy.
  • Burning the Flag: There is a shot in "Mhysa" of a burning banner, symbolizing a faction's utter defeat.
  • Burn the Witch!:
    • Invoked by Daenerys as both a punishment for deceiving her and for a bit of Blood Magic of her own.
    • Inverted by Melisandre, a witch who burns people.
  • Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie:
    • Hizdahr zo Loraq comes to Daenerys in Season 4 to request that he be allowed to bury his father in the Temple of the Graces rather than leaving him to rot on a crucifix.
    • Tormund encourages Jon to give Ygritte a proper burial in the "real North", which Jon honours by burning the body beneath a weirwood beyond the Wall.
  • Burping Contest: The patrons of the Mole's Town brothel play at guessing which tune the madam is belching.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Barristan Selmy storms out of the throne room in Season 1 and into Astapor in Season 3.
    • Lysa Arryn and her son Robin, first seen in Season 1, returns in Season 4.
    • Alliser Thorne (last seen in Season 1) and Janos Slynt (last seen in Season 2) return as antagonists to Jon in Season 4.
    • Littlefinger takes a notable boat-trip for six episodes between "The Climb" and "Breaker of Chains".
    • Ghost wanders off in Season 2 and only turns up again in Season 4.
    • Pyp and Maester Aemon re-enter the story at the end of Season 3 after a nineteen-episode absence, though since they were the only characters to remain at Castle Black, it's perhaps more fitting to say the bus left them behind.
    • Hot Pie returns in Season 4 when Brienne and Pod stop by the inn where he works. It turn's out he's gotten much better at making wolf-shaped bread.
    • Grenn and Dolorous Edd reappear in "Breaker of Chains" nine episodes after they were last seen fighting at Craster's Keep.
    • Gregor Clegane is summoned to the capital in "Mockingbird" to serve as Cersei's champion after being unseen since Tywin left him at Harrenhal in Season 2.
    • After a two-season absence, Kevan Lannister and his son Lancel re-enter the story in "The Wars to Come".
    • Cersei's daughter Myrcella was put on a ship in Season 2, but returns in Season 5. Or rather, the cameras finally follows her to her destination.
    • The Faceless Man Arya knew as Jaqen H'ghar in Season 2 returns in "The House of Black and White".
    • Five episodes after his exile from Meereen, Jorah Mormont turns up in a brothel on the Long Bridge of Volantis whose main attraction is its own Rule34 version of Daenerys.
    • After setting out early in the season, Mace Tyrell and Ser Meryn Trant finally arrive in Braavos in the season's penultimate episode, "The Dance of Dragons".
  • Bus Crash: When Jon reconnects with Qhorin after being sidetracked by Ygritte, he learns that the rest of their party were killed by the wildlings off-screen.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday:
    • In "Walk of Punishment", Arya asks the Hound, "Do you remember what happened the last time you were here?" outside the inn near where he rode down her friend Mycah twenty-one episodes before in "The Kingsroad", but he has no idea what she's talking about.
    • In "Two Swords", despite several good looks, Polliver doesn't recognize Arya as the Sweet Polly Oliver girl who became Lord Tywin's cup bearer at Harrenhal until she begins her Ironic Echo.
  • But Not Too Gay: Scenes involving gay characters in bed together are present, but they are nowhere near as explicit as most of the heterosexual or even occasional lesbian pairings on the show.
  • Butt Monkey:
    • Theon is distrusted and treated like dirt by pretty much everyone except Robb. Even his own family and soldiers are contemptuous of him, even after he retakes Winterfell. His misfortune is then played for drama in Seasons 3 and 4.
    • Lancel is more-or-less a professional butt monkey as Robert's squire. Later, his new-found smug attitude gets shot down when Tyrion blackmails him and even Cersei gets to punch him in the grievous wound he received during his one attempt at valour.
    • Tyrion is constantly ridiculed for being a dwarf, gets the worst treatment from his father by far, and almost all of his actions are undone in the long run.
    • The Starks and Tullys are a rare and excruciating heroic example, as nothing ever seems to go well for them.
    • Sansa life is King's Landing in a long stream of Hope Spots and Yank the Dog's Chain.
    • Orell gets no respect for his nagging suspicion of Jon despite being right the whole time.
    • Jaime becomes this in Season 4, getting only coldness, disappointment, and disdain from Cersei, Tywin, and Joffrey.
    • Hot Pie is the timid, klutzy, none-too-bright, tag-along member of Arya's companions.
    • By Season 4, Pycelle's scenes consist largely of him being derided publicly, culminating in him being booted from his own laboratory in favour of Qyburn. This derision extends to scenes he isn't even in, such as when Cersei describes him as smelling like a dead cat in "Two Swords".
    • Mace Tyrell, despite being Lord Paramount of the Reach, Warden of the South, and the dual Master of Ships and Coin, is ignored or belittled at every turn even by his own mother and his tangible contributions to the Small Council consist of fetching quill and paper and operating the door.
  • Buy Them Off:
    • Yunkai attempts to stave off Daenerys' Slave Liberation with chests of gold and ships to take her army to Westeros. Dany takes the gold, but refuses to leave without freeing the slaves.
    • Tyrion offers to provide Shae with a Big Fancy House and an allowance as his mistress, but she refuses, fearing Tyrion will tire of her with age and any children they might have are likely to be murdered if their grandfather ever finds out.